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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.

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.

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.

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

Jobs warning

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Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
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Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape