Unemployed people across the UK who refused to take part in the Coalition government’s slave-labour Workfare scheme – and lost benefits as a result – should now claim their money back after the Court of Appeal ruled that the scheme was unlawful.
The ruling comes after Cait Reilly won her legal challenge against the scheme, which she claimed forces people to work without pay.
Ms Reilly feels like an old friend to Vox Political, as this blog has followed her case since early last year. She is a geology graduate who had been working on a voluntary basis at a museum, to get experience necessary to win a curator’s position in the future. Then the DWP uprooted her and forced her onto Workfare, stacking shelves in Poundland – a company that can well afford to employ its own workers on full wages.
The BBC report of her victory today states that she lost her original court case, but that is not strictly true. Mr Justice Foskett found in her favour, but on the basis that she had been given wrong information that the scheme was compulsory.
At the time, the mass media, including the BBC, told us her case had failed, cherry-picking this comment from the judge: “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.”
The three judges at the Court of Appeal clearly have a different understanding of contemporary thinking as they have made it perfectly clear that the regulations governing the scheme are indeed unlawful.
This means anyone who was penalised for refusing to take part, or for leaving the scheme once they had started it and realised what it was, may now claim back the Jobseekers’ Allowance that was withdrawn from them for non-compliance.
This is a great victory for freedom and justice, a huge vindication of the Appeal court system, and a slap in the face for our dictatorial Coalition government and in particular Iain Duncan Smith, Vox‘s ‘Monster of the Year’ for 2012.
It is to be hoped that news of this victory spreads as quickly as humanly possible, and all those affected put their claims in immediately, so that the system becomes swamped by the consequences of its own crimes.