Legal News | Compensation Payouts To Jobseekers Blocked By Lords

Peers sitting overnight last night (March 25th) in the House of Lords voted for emergency legislation blocking up to £130m in compensation payouts to jobseekers, which is now set to become law.

In the late-night sitting which ended at around 1:30 this morning, peers completed all the remaining stages of the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill, which has already been fast-tracked through the Commons.

The Government was forced to keep more than 100 of its supporters back for the debate, as Labour critics forced unsuccessful votes on the controversial legislation in an 11-hour sitting of the Upper House.

If the Bill had been amended it would have had to return to the Commons, which would have created difficulties for its legislative timetable ahead of the Easter recess.

Back in February, the Court of Appeal quashed the regulations that underpinned the Government’s Back to Work programme, and which require jobseekers to undertake unpaid work where directed or face the loss of their benefits.

This was because one jobseeker, took the Department for Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith to court over this, as doing the unpaid work in a shop meant that she had to give up voluntary work in a museum.

The appeal court unanimously held that the regulations were unlawful, as claimants were being forced to comply with a scheme that had not been clearly set out.

However, the jobseeker’s win could have opened the floodgates to other claimants, so the Government decided to push legislation through parliament rather than pay millions in compensation, in a move to “protect taxpayers.”

The decision in the Lords now means that the rectification of the legal flaws in the Bill that enabled the jobseeker’s victory should prevent further claims.

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Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London

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