Back-to-work scheme, unlawful, says Court of Appeal

Remember when the government made a load of people do work for no money in a bid to fudge their unemployment figures? Well, Cait Reilly thought something was amiss and ended up winning a legal challenge on appeal, claiming that a government scheme forces people to work without pay.

The graduate claimed that forcing her to work for free at a Poundland store breached laws banning slavery and forced labour. Emotive language, but she has a point.

Initially, Cait lost her case at the High Court, but on appeal, she was successful, which is likely to have a gigantic impact on other jobseekers. Basically, anyone being forced into unpaid work can now point out that three judges have ruled that the regulations under which most of the government's back-to-work schemes were created are unlawful and have subsequently been quashed.

Reilly said that in 2011 she was forcibly removed from voluntary work at a museum and made to work for Poundland unpaid under the "sector-based work academy" scheme and told that, if she refused the placement, she would lose her Jobseeker's Allowance.

Elsewhere, HGV driver Jamie Wilson was told that his dole would be stopped if he didn't take part in the Community Action Programme, which basically forced him to work 30 hours per week for six months without pay.

Solicitor Tessa Gregory, of Public Interest Lawyers, which represented the duo, said: "This judgment sends Iain Duncan Smith back to the drawing board to make fresh regulations which are fair and comply with the court's ruling. Until that time nobody can be lawfully forced to participate in schemes affected such as the Work Programme and the Community Action Programme. All of those who have been stripped of their benefits have a right to claim the money back that has been unlawfully taken away from them."

Miss Reilly added: "Those two weeks were a complete waste of my time as the experience did not help me get a job. I was not given any training and I was left with no time to do my voluntary work or search for other jobs. The only beneficiary was Poundland, a multimillion-pound company. Later I found out that I should never have been told the placement was compulsory."

"I don't think I am above working in shops like Poundland. I now work part time in a supermarket. It is just that I expect to get paid for working."



  • buffylass
    I think someone should take this bedroom tax too the high courts surely this must be illegal for the government to give you your benefit then take it back off you, I myself don't have this problem but I can se the hardship this is going too cause for people with young families
  • shiftynifty
    So banks are fucked...Supermarkets are selling horsemeat meals...shops getting free`s no fucking clue about the economy ......whats not to like about the UK !!!!!!!
  • OoOoooH Y.
    @ buffylass I agree the penalties for living are increasing and soon the crime rate will escalate to levels never seen before. Not only do you have Bedroom tax, you are also now expected to pay towards your council tax as most councils are expecting you to cough up 20% if you are on benefits. Before the benefit bashers arrive, not everyone on benefits is claiming through choice or being a lazy bastard. Employees of recent business closures are finding themselves having to claim too, you could be next or even worse have to claim due to sickness / an accident. To benefit from this country you need to be a fricking migrant / asylum seeker, a MP, or a wanking banker who caused all the shit with the recession in the first place.
  • Strawbear
    "So banks are fucked…Supermarkets are selling horsemeat meals…shops getting free labour…mp`s no fucking clue about the economy ……whats not to like about the UK !!!!!!!" The literacy of its citizens? And can we stop blaming everything on immigrants please? Don't blame the poorest when the richest are the ones at fault. Wake me for the revolution.
  • shiftynifty
    Strawbear....the revolution has no time for literacy ....So fuck off
  • Shaz
    Nowt wrong with this, if you only need one bedroom then that's what you should get in benefits. if you want a 2 bed or more then pay for it. why should the benefit system pay for that. if they cant pay for it then they should apply for a smaller home.
  • UnicornBreeder
    Ok, but isn’t the whole point of being on ‘Job Seekers allowance’ that you are seeking work? She wasn’t seeking work. She was working voluntarily. When you go for JSA you need to prove you’ve been applying for jobs (So I’ve heard, I’ve never been on the dole!). She wasn’t making herself available for work, so why should she get the funding? If I decide I only want to be a Unicorn breeder, and there’s no jobs in that market, so I get offered a job as a Horse burger maker.. and I say no, my benefits should stop!

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