High Court ruling could allow Cheltenham job seekers to refuse to do unpaid work for benefits
UNEMPLOYED people in Cheltenham could refuse to work for free in order to receive benefits, following a landmark court ruling.
Cait Reilly, 24, from Birmingham, has today won her claim that it is illegal for the Government to force her to work unpaid in Poundland in order to receive jobseekers' allowance.
A High Court ruling found that the regulations in most of the Government's back-to-work schemes are unlawful.
However, legal experts say the ruling will not mean the unpaid work scheme is scrapped.
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Steve Conlay, a legal assistant at Cheltenham law firm BPE Solicitors LLP, said: "Whilst the judgment handed down today may provide relief for those currently being encouraged into the Government's back to work scheme, it is not all good news for job seekers.
"In their judgment, the court criticised the Government for not providing jobseekers with enough information on the schemes and the penalties jobseekers would face if they refused to enter such schemes. It was for this reason that the "back to work strategy" was deemed unlawful.
"The court however did offer encouragement to the Government by stating that the creation of such schemes were within the Government's right, and with the correct amendments such schemes would be lawful.
"This means that in the future jobseekers will still be encouraged to enter such schemes.
"We fully expect the Government to appeal today's judgment and further, we anticipate that amendments to the schemes will be rushed through in the next 24 hours to make the schemes legally compliant."
He added: "At the time of writing it is unlikely that the government will offer any compensation for those who have been forced to participate in one of the schemes."