Supreme Court says Government's Poundland scheme is 'legally flawed'

30 October 2013

poundland The Government's 'back-to-work' scheme - where jobseekers were packed off to work for Poundland - has been ruled as 'legally flawed' as a case taken to the Supreme Court today.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, didn't manage to overturn an earlier ruling that said regulations that backed up the schemes were invalid. Presumably, no-one could get away from the notion that, should Poundland have enough work for jobseekers to do, then surely, they are able to pay for it.

As the appeal was whisked to the Supreme Court, the Government forced through retrospective legislation -  the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act - through Parliament. However, five whole Supreme Court justices upheld a Court of Appeal decision which went against the Government.

This all focused on Cait Reilly who was made to work for Poundland for free, as well as Jamieson Wilson who objected to doing unpaid work cleaning furniture, and saw his dole getting taken off him for 6 months. The lawyers representing the pair said all applicants who had their jobseeker's allowance withdrawn for non-compliance with this ridiculous scheme could now reclaim their allowance as a result of this ruling.

Reilly said she was "really pleased" with today's judgment. She hopes the whole thing "will serve to improve the current system and assist jobseekers who have been unfairly stripped of their benefits," adding: "I brought these proceedings because I knew that there was something wrong when I was stopped from doing voluntary work in a local museum and instead forced to work for Poundland for free."

However, the Supreme Court ruled that all this doesn't actually constitute forced labour, which of course, saw IDS gleefully stroking his balls, saying: "We are very pleased that the Supreme Court today unanimously upheld our right to require those claiming jobseeker's allowance to take part in programmes which will help get them into work. We have always said that it was ridiculous to say that our schemes amounted to forced labour, and yet again we have won this argument."

"Ultimately this judgment confirms that it is right that we expect people to take getting into work seriously if they want to claim benefits."

IDS then presumably tootled off home to his wife, Betsy Fremantle -  daughter of the 5th Baron Cottesloe - to his country house who belongs to his father-in-law's estate in Swanbourne, chuckling at his personal wealth of millions, wondering what all this fuss is about.

TOPICS:   High Street News   Government

3 comments

  • jokester2
    Am I missing something here or does this article say: "all applicants who had their jobseeker’s allowance withdrawn for non-compliance with this ridiculous scheme could now reclaim their allowance as a result of this ruling." followed by: "We are very pleased that the Supreme Court today unanimously upheld our right to require those claiming jobseeker’s allowance to take part in programmes which will help get them into work. We have always said that it was ridiculous to say that our schemes amounted to forced labour, and yet again we have won this argument." Do these not contradict each other?
  • Alex B.
    @jokester2 One of Reilly's claims was that making benefits conditional upon participating in work programmes amounted to 'forced labour' as per Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court threw that out, based on precedent elsewhere in the EU (Netherlands and Belgium) essentially saying that a) The limitations on what is designated forced labour (e.g. national service, where applicable) are not exclusive, but serve to set the reasoning for the preceding text, and b) there's no legal obligation to receive benefits, so making them conditional isn't forced labour. Hence the government's statement. On the other hand, the original regulations weren't legal (this has since been fixed in 2013 regulations) and Job Centres didn't always follow the correct procedures when putting people onto work programmes. Hence the first statement.
  • jokester2
    So, essentially, the scheme is now all legal but previously wasn't ???

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment