steepholm (steepholm) wrote,


Iain Duncan-Smith, writing in The Sun about the Cait Reilly case:

Nobody works for free on these placements because the Government continues to pay their benefits. So nobody is working for nothing, are they?

Cait Reilly is of course the young unemployed woman who was forced to give up volunteering at the local museum - and seeking employment - so that she could work for nothing at Poundland. The Government seems very confused about whether this workfare scheme is "giving something back to society" (in which case I'd have thought working for a public museum would qualify better than stacking shelves for a private company), or "training" - in which case, ditto, especially given Reilly's qualifications (she is a geography graduate).

So far, so familiar, so hypocritical. But the quotation above, in which Duncan-Smith suggests that Reilly's Job Seeker's Allowance should be regarded as wages, is new - certainly to me - and seems on the face of it to be a gross violation of minimum wage legislation. The minimum wage in this country is currently £6.19 an hour. Reilly was working full-time at Poundland: I'm not sure what this amounts to in hours, but let's be conservative and say 30 hours per week. On the minimum wage, she would have been receiving £187.70 per week for that amount of work. Not a king's ransom.

She was actually being paid £53.45 per week (or £1.78 per hour).
Tags: current affairs
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