The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Cait Reilly's contention that the government's unpaid work schemes are legally flawed. There's the BBC's report here and the Guardian's here. The latter says that the scheme is "in tatters". But let's not get carried away.
They're unlawful only because of "a lack of basic in formation given to the unemployed". They weren't given enough information about the penalties they faced or their rights to appeal. Tens of thousands of people who have been sanctioned are entitled to "a rebate", but the DWP has said that it won't pay out until "all legal avenues" have been exhausted. They're going to the Supreme Court. Which all means that it's not the schemes themselves - MWA and the rest - which are unlawful, just the way the DWP went about it. And they've already changed the paperwork.
Mark Hoban is cross. He said: "The court has backed our right to require people to take part in programmes which will help get them into work. It's ridiculous to say this is forced labour. This ruling ensures we can continue with these important schemes. We are, however, disappointed and surprised at the court's decision on our regulations. There needed to be flexibility so we could give people the right support to meet their needs and get them into a job. We do not agree with the court's judgment and are seeking permission to appeal, but new regulations will be tabled to avoid any uncertainty."
PS: There's an excellent comment piece by Zoe Williams in the Guardian.