1. ITV Report

Birmingham graduate forced to work for free at Poundland to challenge Government

A Birmingham graduate says she has been forced to work for free at Poundland by the Government Photo: PA

A Birmingham University graduate will challenge the Government's Work programme scheme today in an historic case at the High Court in London.

23-year-old Cait Reilly says she was forced to do a two-week placement stacking shelves at Poundland in Kings Heath in order to retain her Job Seekers Allowance. She will claim in Court that it amounted to 'forced labour' in contravention of Article 4 of the Human Rights Act.

It's very frustrating really. I think the fact I was already doing some voluntary work off my own back should have been enough for them. To take me away from that to something which is not relevant at all and gave me no training is very frustrating.

– Cait Reilly, Birmingham graduate

The geology graduate was at the time working as a volunteer at a Birmingham museum which she believed was far better suited to gaining her experience in her chosen field of work.

The Department for Work and Pensions deny the work placements are compulsory and defend the schemes as an ideal way for those out of work to gain experience to enhance the chances of eventually securing a permanent paid job.

Cait Reilly is due to begin her legal challenge later this morning.

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