Defeat for work scheme challenge
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A graduate has lost her High Court bid to challenge a government scheme which she says forces people to work without being paid.
Cait Reilly, a University of Birmingham geology graduate, had argued that making her work unpaid at a Poundland store for two weeks or risk losing her benefits was a breach of human rights.
But a judge rejected her assertion.
It was "a long way from contemporary thinking" to call the scheme slavery or forced labour, he said.
The decision means that the government is spared the prospect of having all back-to-work schemes declared invalid.
The Department for Work and Pensions said the comparison with slave labour was "ridiculous".
"Thousands of young people across the country are taking part in our schemes and gaining the vital skills and experience needed to help them enter the world of work - it is making a real difference to people's lives.
"Those who oppose this process are actually opposed to hard work and they are harming the life chances of unemployed young people who are trying to get on," a DWP spokesperson said.Mistakes made
Miss Reilly, 23, and unemployed heavy goods vehicle driver Jamieson Wilson, 40, from Nottingham, were trying to get their back-to-work schemes declared unlawful under article four of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits both forced labour and slavery.
The judge, Mr Justice Foskett, sitting at the High Court in London, said mistakes had been made in both their cases.
Miss Reilly had been misinformed about the Work Academy Scheme, so she did not realise that it was not mandatory.
For his part, Mr Wilson, who was on the Community Action Programme, had not been given proper notice of the scheme.
However, neither scheme breached the convention and the errors did not invalidate the Jobseeker's Allowance regulations.
The judge said letters informing jobseekers about what could happen if they fail to take part in schemes should be made clearer.
But the DWP did not accept this and said it would be appealing against this part of the ruling.