Cait Reilly’s High Court Victory over Workfare is a Victory for Human Decency

Today’s High Court decision to uphold Cait Reilly’s appeal over her being forced to participate in the government’s workfare scheme on pain of having her JSA stopped, is a rare victory for human decency.

Currently thousands of people up and down the country, who through no fault of their own are struggling to find employment, are suffering the indignity and coercion of workfare. It is reflective of the callous disregard for the human rights of the poor and most vulnerable in society by this government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.

In conjunction with the social injustice of the controversial and ongoing Atos re-assessments of people on disability, the upcoming bedroom tax designed to punish people on housing benefit, workfare will be remembered as a low point in the nation’s social history in years to come. The criminalisation of poverty and the demonisation of the unemployed and people on benefits is in itself a crime.

Cait Reilly’s victory today gives millions who are currently suffering as a direct result of the government’s attacks on benefit claimants hope, reminding them that they are not scum and that they do not have to accept being bullied, harassed, intimidated, and coerced – that they can fight back and they can win.

Bertolt Brecht once wrote that ‘Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.’

Britain in 2013 is just such an unhappy land and Cait Reilly is indeed a hero.











11 comments on “Cait Reilly’s High Court Victory over Workfare is a Victory for Human Decency

  1. BombasticSpastic on said:

    Well done Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson for your doggedness; for not letting this government off the hook with its unlawful back-to-work slave labour schemes.

    Reilly was forced to work without wages, or lose benefits, at a Poundshop, even though the meaningful voluntary work she was carrying out in a museum was more relevant to her qualifications.

    While Wilson, an unemployed lorry driver, had his benefits sanctioned for refusing to take on an unpaid cleaning job.

    Today a panel of High Court Judges found that that rules underpinning most back-to-work schemes to be unlawful and quashed them.

    The sheer arrogance of this government reaches new heights on a daily basis. Today the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has, on hearing of a ruling against them on one of their back-to-work schemes, vowed it will not recompense anyone sanctioned by them who haven’t been seriously seeking work. Indeed, it is examining ‘options’ to avoid compensating people unlawfully sanctioned.

    The two halves of this government do not properly fit together. It is fundamentally a weak government full of unimaginative and lazy ministers who lurch from one ‘quick-fix’ solution to the next. We must be vigilant and continuously searching the fault lines in their policy; chipping away at their weakness – that is an inability to govern through fair measures.

  2. This was a big item on bbc news and the guy they had on from Derby Unemployed Workers Centre was excellent. Anyone know who he is?

  3. We need to make sure this ruling gets out to as many people as possible, especially those possibly affected by it.

    Part of the issue at the moment is that those most vulnerable to these kinds of sanctions are also unlikely to have the confidence to try and regain their money.

    It’s a difficult issue, but not an insurmountable one.

    On a related issue, does anyone know if this decision could also lead to people placed on one of these schemes being able to claim backpay under minimum wage legislation?

  4. Who the fecking hell brought in workfare, who was it that felt people should work for work experience unpaid, Labour, who backed the working for nothing Miliband, something for nothing.

    The sad fact I suspect to hear Miliband now tell us he was against this all the time as he steps from one band wagon to another.

  5. jim mclean on said:

    Now Now, Labour gave you a whole £10 a week on top of benefits plus subsidised travel, paying any costs over £4 a week.

  6. history tells us things on said:

    It doesn’t look like Labour will be any better, John Cruddas has just been on Newsnight, very worrying indeed: he has hired the IPPR(largely responsible for the ESA, end of IB) to audit L/P policies, he sees welfare increasingly being provided by voluntary organisations such as boxing clubs! the DWP will be massively reduced and that food banks are here to stay and are a positive thing. Benefit will all be based on contributions so those who have paid more in will get more…

  7. ConDems will be rushing through replacement regulations at breakneck speed, which, surely will be falling foul of the judgement by the Court of Appeal regards to bypassing Parliament. John McDonnell has put down an EDM re these regulations.

    With the attacks on legal aid coming in April, it will be more difficult to challenge government decisions. Public Interest Lawyers represented the two pro bono (I think).

    I discovered via stat counter that Atos has been checking out my blog… Not sure to be worried or flattered. A4E used to check out my blog too.

  8. Even the usual suspects who bang on about lazy benefit cheats felt forcing people to work at Poundland for nothing was taking the piss. It is good to know that there at least limits!