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Wednesday 31st August 2016
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Shelf-Stacking & Other Lies

Posted by James O'Brien on February 18, 2013 at 13:40PM

Even to my seasoned and cynical eye, Iain Duncan Smith's latest dishonesty seems staggering.

A story about a young woman who objected to being compelled to work for nothing in a branch of Poundland has somehow been allowed to metamorphose into a conversation about largely fictional people who consider shelf-stacking beneath them.

It beggars belief. Cait Reilly had no problem with Poundland, no problem with 'menial' work and no problem with shelf-stacking. These are not bold statements, but simple conclusions drawn from even a cursory reading of her own account and the fact that she now works in a branch of Morrisons supermarket. For a proper wage.

She had a problem with being required to do the work 'in return' for her Job Seeker's Allowance. The problem could be loosely described as minimum wage legislation, over which the whole rancid scheme rides roughshod. As, the British Court of Appeal has found, it does over Human Rights legislation designed to prevent slavery and forced labour!

Of course, some of Duncan Smith's scarier supporters are happy to ignore the small matter of minimum wage being enshrined in law and contend that JSA somehow constitutes payment for services rendered. They would almost have a point were it not for a prominent Conservative Cabinet Minister insisting regularly and categorically that this is not a 'work for benefits' scheme in any way, shape or form.

That Cabinet Minister is...Iain Duncan Smith. Yesterday he said that Cait Reilly had been 'paid' for the Poundland placement. Even he would have to concede he was speaking untruths on one of these occasions - either when he said it was not a 'work for benefits' scheme or when he said that Cait Reilly had been paid with her benefits. I would genuinely love to know which one he would prefer to have recorded as the bare-faced lie.