The Government's under-fire scheme to get unemployed people back into jobs by having them work without pay suffered another blow after Poundland became the latest firm to withdraw and demand that ministers rethink the programme.
The discount retailer joins a growing list of firms and charities which have left the scheme or suspended their involvement. Sainsbury's has dropped out and rival store Tesco has offered to pay participants after some of its stores were hit by protests. Fellow retailers TK Maxx and Waterstones have withdrawn.
Poundland said it was dropping out without taking on a single worker because of the backlash. Charities Shelter, Marie Curie and Mind, as well as the Disability Works UK group, which includes eight major charities, have also pulled out of the scheme.
The charity Scope and the retailers Matalan, Argos and Superdrug are also known to have suspended their involvement pending their own separate investigations.