Cait Reilly, who studied geology at university, had been unable to find a job in her subject area and was claiming unemployment benefit while volunteering in a museum in the hope it would lead to a job in that sector.
But the 22-year-old had to give up the placement in order to work in the budget store under a Government scheme designed to encourage the long-term unemployed back to work.
Miss Reilly is now taking landmark legal action against the Government after being told she risked losing her £53.45-a-week Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) payment if she turned down the two-week unpaid work experience stint at Poundland.
Lawyers for the graduate are seeking a judicial review into Department for Work and Pensions rules that compel unemployed people to take unpaid work.
They say the scheme, part of the Coalition’s Work Programme to break the cycle of benefit dependency, amounts to ‘forced labour’ and is against the Human Rights Act. Read More