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.



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


Jobs warning

Jobs warning
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears