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  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.

Man police want to speak to in connection with robbery

CCTV of the man police would like to speak to Credit: West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police have released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to after tens of thousands of pounds was stolen from Poundland in Kings Heath.

Two men barged their way into the shop after gaining access through the trade entrance at the rear of the shop.

It happened at around 9am on Sunday (11th November). They then threatened staff, took the cash and ran off.

One of the men is described as white, 5ft 10ins tall and of stocky build.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them directly.

Graduate can appeal High Court decision over job scheme.

A jobless graduate who lost her High Court fight over a government job scheme which she claimed breached human rights laws, has been granted permission to appeal against the decision.

Cait Reilly been given right to appeal decision Credit: ITV Central

Cait Reilly says she was forced to take an unpaid job at Poundland in order to keep her benefits. A High Court judge yesterday rejected her claim. Miss Reilly will now be able to take her fight to the Court of Appeal.


Unpaid job scheme ruled 'lawful'

A High Court judge has rejected jobless graduate Cait Reilly's claim that a scheme requiring her to work for free at a Poundland discount store breached human rights laws banning slavery.

The Government back-to-work schemes were criticised as "forced labour" by a Birmingham graduate, but have been ruled lawful.

Mr Justice Foskett, sitting at the High Court in London, said:

"characterising such a scheme as involving or being analogous to 'slavery' or 'forced labour' seems to me to be a long way from contemporary thinking".

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