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Poundland: £1bn sales and plans for extra jobs

Poundland has announced mega sales figures topping almost £1bn this year, resulting in record profits.

The discount store says it plans to expand by opening 60 extra shops, which will create another 1,000 jobs over the next financial year.

Poundland has racked up nearly £1bn in annual sales and plans to expand by opening 60 stores.
Poundland has racked up nearly £1bn in annual sales and plans to expand opening 60 stores. Credit: PA

Profits were up by 23.5% to a record £36.8 million, the retailer said, adding that it planned to open stores in Europe - first targeting the Spanish market.

Poundland opened 70 new stores in the UK this year, taking its total number of shops to 528.

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Claimants not given 'sufficient information' on scheme

The Supreme Court has upheld a 2011 decision by the Court of Appeal that unemployed people were not given enough information, especially about the sanctions for refusing jobs under the schemes.

The judgement said that the two claimants "should have [been given] sufficient information about the scheme to be able to make freely informed representations".

Read the full judgement here

Work Secretary reacts to 'back-to-work' scheme ruling

Work Secretary Iain Duncan Smith claimed a victory in the Supreme Court today despite it ruling that the 'back-to-work' schemes are legally flawed. He said:

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.

– Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Supreme Court finds work schemes legally flawed

The Government's 'back-to-work' schemes at the centre of the high-profile Poundland case were legally flawed, the UK's highest court ruled today.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith failed in a Supreme Court bid to overturn an earlier ruling that 2011 regulations underpinning the schemes were invalid.

Five Supreme Court justices upheld a Court of Appeal decision which went against the Government in February.

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Court of Appeal's 'back-to-work' schemes ruling

The Court of Appeal ruled that regulations underpinning the Government's "back-to-work" schemes were legally flawed.

Judges Lord Justice Pill, Lady Justice Black and Sir Stanley Burnton unanimously agreed in a judgment in February this year that the 2011 "work for your benefits" regulations failed to give the unemployed enough information, especially about the sanctions for refusing jobs under the schemes.

Cait Reilly challenged having to work for free at a Poundland discount store.
Cait Reilly challenged having to work for free at a Poundland discount store. Credit: Cathy Gordon/PA Archive

The ruling was a victory for university graduate Cait Reilly, 24, from Birmingham, who challenged having to work for free at a local Poundland discount store.

It was also a victory for 40-year-old unemployed HGV driver Jamieson Wilson, from Nottingham, who objected to doing unpaid work cleaning furniture and as a result was stripped of his jobseeker's allowance for six months.

Supreme Court to rule on 'back-to-work' schemes

The UK's Supreme Court is set to rule today on the legality of the Government's "back-to-work" schemes at the centre of the high-profile Poundland case.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is attempting to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling that regulations underpinning the schemes were legally flawed.

A Poundland store.
University graduate Cait Reilly challenged having to work for free at a Poundland discount store.. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The schemes were condemned by critics as ''slave labour'' because they involved work without pay and cuts in jobseeker's allowance for those who failed to comply with the rules.

University graduate Cait Reilly, 24, from Birmingham, and 40-year-old unemployed HGV driver Jamieson Wilson, from Nottingham, had both succeeded in their claims that the unpaid schemes were legally flawed.

Read: University graduate wins 'back-to-work' appeal

IDS criticises those who are 'too good to stack shelves'

The work and pensions secretary has criticised people "who think they're too good" to stack supermarket shelves. Iain Duncan Smith said many "smart people" overlooked the importance of effective shelf-stacking.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith Credit: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

Geology graduate Cait Reilly recently won a legal victory over the government's back-to-work scheme. But the Mr Duncan Smith warned against assuming that geology was more important than supermarket work

He said: "I understand she said she wasn't paid. She was paid jobseeker's allowance, by the taxpayer, to do this. I'm sorry, but there is a group of people out there who think they're too good for this kind of stuff."

"Let me remind you that [former Tesco chief executive] Terry Leahy started his life stacking shelves."

The next time somebody goes in - those smart people who say there's something wrong with this - they go into their supermarket, ask themselves this simple question.

"When they can't find the food they want on the shelves, who is more important - them, the geologist, or the person who stacked the shelves?"

He was speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show.

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