Live updates

Taking benefits for nothing – these days are over says Duncan Smith

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has said today that days where people could take benefits and do nothing for them are over.

He's also made an individual hit out at Birmingham graduate Cait Reilly, who challenged having to work at Poundland for free.

Duncan Smith says that she was being paid jobseeker's allowance by the taxpayer to do this.

The governments flagship back-to-work scheme was ruled legally flawed earlier this month, when Cait Reilly won her case at the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Work and Pensions Secretary is now implementing emergency regulations to deal with the Court of Appeal ruling.

Cait Reilly was working for free at a museum – experience relative to her degree Credit: ITV News Central

Advertisement

Poundland grad was paid jobseeker's allowance says Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith has issued a direct rebuke at Birmingham graduate Cait Reilly, who challenged having to work for free at a local Poundland store or face losing unemployment benefits.

You have to learn early that if you commit to something you stay by and do it.

She was paid jobseeker's allowance by the taxpayer to do this.

– Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary

Iain Duncan Smith has also lashed out at graduates who consider themselves "too good" to stack supermarket shelves. He's announced that he will not back down after the flagship back-to-work scheme was ruled legally flawed.

Work Secretary criticises Poundland Grad's Court of Appeal win

Iain Duncan Smith talking today Credit: BBC

Iain Duncan Smith has today lashed out at Birmingham graduate Cait Reilly, who challenged having to work for free at a local Poundland store.

The Work and Pension Secretary has criticised graduates who consider themselves "too good" to stack supermarket shelves as he vowed not to back down after a flagship back-to-work scheme was ruled legally flawed.

Cait Reilly, 24, from Birmingham, won her Court of Appeal claim that required her to work for free at a Poundland discount store, which breached laws banning slavery and forced labour.

  1. National

Poundland ruling 'should mean end of working for free'

Today's rulings in the Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson cases should mean the end of working without pay, according to the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union.

The Union said it welcomed the Court of Appeal judgement and agreed Ms Reilly was unlawfully forced to work for no wages.

This is a very significant ruling that we believe supports what we have said all along, that no one should be forced to work without pay.

The government can not continue to help private companies and charities to exploit people who are out of work, and these schemes must surely now be scrapped and the work brought back in-house.

– PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka

Advertisement

  1. National

Work schemes reveal 'lack of transparency'

Solicitor Tessa Gregory, who represented Cait Reilly and 40-year-old unemployed HGV driver Jamieson Wilson, said today's ruling reveals "a lack of transparency" by the Department for Work and Pensions in implementing mandatory work schemes.

The case has revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions was going behind Parliament's back and failing to obtain Parliamentary approval for the various mandatory work schemes that it was introducing.

It also reveals a lack of transparency and fairness in the implementation of these schemes.

The claimants had no information about what could be required of them under the back-to-work schemes.

The Court of Appeal has affirmed the basic constitutional principle that everyone has a right to know and understand why sanctions are being threatened and imposed against them.

  1. National

Reilly: Poundland work scheme 'a waste of my time'

University graduate Cait Reilly, who won her Court of Appeal claim today that requiring her to work for free at a Poundland discount store was unlawful, said she was "delighted" with the judgement.

I brought this case because I knew it was wrong when I was prevented from doing my voluntary work in a museum and forced to work in Poundland for free for two weeks as part of a scheme known as the sector based work academy.

Those two weeks were a complete waste of my time as the experience did not help me get a job.

I wasn't 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.

I hope the Government will now take this opportunity to rethink its strategy and do something which actually builds on young unemployed people's skills and tackles the causes of long-term unemployment.

I agree we need to get people back to work but the best way of doing that is by helping them, not punishing them.

The Government ought to understand that if they created schemes which actually helped people get back into work then they wouldn't need to force people to attend.

– Cait Reilly

Graduate wins Court of Appeal claim against forced work

University graduate Cait Reilly has won her Court of Appeal claim that requiring her to work for free at a Poundland discount store breached laws banning slavery and forced labour.

Miss Reilly who is 23 and from Birmingham claimed that the unpaid scheme she was on violated article four of the European Convention on Human Rights.

High Court judge Mr Justice Foskett criticised the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the lack of clarity of their letters which warned claimants of a potential loss of benefits if they failed to participate in the schemes without good reason, and called for improved clarity.

Load more updates