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Once the voice of the more civilised wing of the party, the think-tank is now firmly in the Let’s Get Nasty Again tendency

Hairdresser claims sacking over minimum wage

AN 18-YEAR-OLD hairdresser who claims she was sacked yesterday after asking to be paid the new national minimum wage, intends to take her case to an industrial tribunal.

Hard times in low-wage region

EYEBROWS WERE raised at the Jobcentre in Redruth, Cornwall, yesterday. The positions advertised were all at or above pounds 3.60 an hour, a rarity for Britain's lowest-paid county.

Sweatshops defy minimum wage

TWO MILLION workers could benefit from the minimum wage of pounds 3.60 per hour when it is introduced this Thursday. But there are signs that many will continue to be exploited.

Leading article: Don't sacrifice our four-year-olds to an election pledge

DISTURBING NEWS from the Allsorts playgroup in Weymouth, Dorset. The supervisor, Denise Pinney, says that her playgroup is losing its four- year-olds to the local schools, which are introducing "pre-school" classes to capitalise on the Government's commitment to education for the under- fives, and the funding that goes with it. Nor is the Allsorts playgroup alone. The Pre-School Learning Alliance claims that as many as 1,700 playgroups are in jeopardy this year, and that a total of 6,000 could close by 2002 if ministers fail to take action. This represents a loss of about a third of the total number of such groups. It should not be dismissed as special pleading by nursery campaigners. It goes to the very heart of the whole issue of educational standards. The standard - and suitability - of pre- school education is one of the main determinants of a child's later educational achievement and thus its prospects in later life. It is crucial.

MOTHER'S DAY BLOW

MOTHER'S DAY BLOW

Leading Article: Role models who have no influence

BARONESS JAY'S wish to recruit "role models" for teenage girls seems rather bizarre. No one denies that young women face a difficult time, bombarded by the contesting demands of home, family, media, school - and growing up at the same time. Under pressure to be all things to all people - student, daughter, girlfriend - girls face more difficult challenges than ever before.

Right of Reply: Jack Straw

The Home Secretary responds to our criticism of his Green Paper on the family

Pop: billy bragg

It made sense for the daughter of socialist folkie Woody Guthrie to ask our own political troubadour Billy Bragg to set a bunch of her late father's lyrics to music. The resulting Mermaid Avenue album was a gem. On tour, he'll be combining Guthrie numbers with some of his own, as well as championing "the cause", this time the GMB campaign to include young people in the minimum wage set-up. Support comes from quirky popsters and fellow Essex boys Hefner.

Parliament: The House - Minutes of hope for Redwood

JOHN REDWOOD, the Shadow Trade Secretary, accused Peter Mandelson of not having read the minutes of evidence given before the independent Monetary Policy Committee yesterday.

Anti-poverty challenge

THE GOVERNMENT is to be challenged over poverty and low wages by the Labour Party's biggest single financial benefactor.

Men's pay moves ahead of women's ale and female pay gap widens

THE PAY gap between men and women has widened for the first time in a decade and the gulf between the highest and lowest paid is also expanding, official data revealed yesterday.

Pay gap widens between rich and poor, men and women

THE PAY gap between men and women has widened for the first time in a decade and the gulf between the highest and lowest paid is also expanding, official data revealed yesterday.

Podium: Decent pay for all, please, Tony

From a speech by the general secretary of Unison to the TUC in Blackpool

Podium: Room for a new mass workers' party

DAVE NELLIST

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