The government’s controversial 'workfare' programme - by which unemployed people are required to work for their benefits – is to face a legal challenge in the High Court this week.
There has been a widespread backlash against workfare since it was introduced by the coalition government, with critics arguing that if there is work available then people should be paid at least minimum wage to carry it out.
Tomorrow (26 June), Cait Reilly and an unnamed claimant will be in court challenging two of the government’s workfare schemes – the sector-based work academies and the community action programme respectively.
The Public Interest Lawyers who are representing the claimants state that “If it succeeds the court will quash the regulations under which the schemes are made and Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, will be sent back to the drawing board".
Members of the group Boycott Workfare will be outside the Royal Courts of Justice, dressed as judges and holding a banner declaring “the real crime is workfare”. The campaigners will show their support for the two claimants in their legal challenge.
Several companies have already pulled out of participating in workfare schemes following public anger and campaigns by Boycott Workfare.
"After months of effective campaigning against workfare on the streets and online, these cases will see the fight against workfare challenged in the courts of law,” said Joanna Long of Boycott Workfare.
She added, “If these cases succeed, the government would see their workfare schemes in even deeper disarray. We wish the claimants our best wishes with their cases in which they will assert their right, and the rights of all unemployed people, to be protected from forced work for benefits”.