The Government’s ‘back-to-work’ schemes, which came under fire last year when an undergraduate was made to work for Poundland for free, are legally flawed, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The Government took the case to the Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn an earlier ruling.

Five Supreme Court judges upheld a Court of Appeal ruling in February which found the 2011 regulations the schemes were based on were invalid.

The case was brought by Cait Reilly after she had to work for two weeks at Poundland or risk losing her weekly jobseekers allowance of £53.45. She said the scheme had breached her human rights.

Reilly said: “I am really pleased with today’s judgment, which I hope will serve to improve the current system and assist jobseekers who have been unfairly stripped of their benefits.

“I brought these proceedings because I knew that there was something wrong when I was stopped from doing voluntary work in a local museum and instead forced to work for Poundland for free.”

The Supreme Court ruled that regulations did not constitute forced or compulsory labour.