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Christian charity supports court "back to work" ruling

Critics described the "back to work" initiative introduced in 2011, as "slave labour" because it involved jobseekers working without pay and cuts in jobseeker's allowance for those who failed to comply with the rules. The original case was brought by 24 year-old graduate Cait Reilly from Birmingham, who says working for free in Poundland breached her human rights.

She's now working in a supermarket and gave her reaction to the news: "It's been a long journey and we've come along way and I'm just really glad and very proud that the Supreme Court have upheld our appeal and just hope new leglislation, new regulations will help other jobseekers in their search for employment."

Five judges upheld a Court of Appeal decision that said regulations underpinning the programmes were invalid.  In it's ruling it said: "The Regulations do not constitute forced or compulsory labour. 

"Given the existence of the 2013 Act and 2013 Regulations, however, the appropriate form of the order would require submissions from counsel."

The verdict means the Government must provide more details about the schemes and what would happen if someone refused to take part, although this has been addressed while the appeal was taking place.

Christian charity Pecan is a charity that helps people get back into work. Its Executive Director Chris Price believes that forcing unemployed people to do voluntary work doesn't actually help them in the long run. 

He told Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour why he agrees with the court's ruling. 

In a statement, the Department of Work and Pensions said: "We are very pleased that the Supreme Court today unanimously upheld our right to require those claiming Jobseeker's Allowance to take part in programmes which will help get them into work. "We have always said that it was ridiculous to claim that our schemes amounted to forced labour, and yet again we have won this argument. Ultimately this judgment confirms that it is right that we expect people to take getting into work seriously if they want to claim benefits."

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