Walthamstow Dog Stadium closed in 2008 and was subsequently bought by London and Quadrant Group (L&Q) for £18m. The site is now worth an estimated £7m. L&Q plan to build 294 new homes on the site, however campaigners have long argued the plan is not viable and represents poor value for taxpayers.
Save our Stow (SOS), a campaign group set-up to oppose the development, has the backing of Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, and the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green. Continue Reading
The TaxPayers’ Alliance yesterday exposed the scandalous amount of taxpayers’ money being used to subsidise trade union activity through both direct grants and so-called facility time. Finding out how our money is spent should be easy. But ferreting it out proved to be an arduous task as many public bodies provided incomprehensible or misleading responses to our requests for information. You can listen to our Chief Executive, Matthew Sinclair, discuss the findings of the report on yesterday’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme below:
Shockingly, nineteen public bodies never replied to our requests at all despite being legally obliged to under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Another 461 either did not provide or confessed that they do not to record some or even all of the staff time they provide to trade unions at all.
Writing for The Commentator Alex Wild argues the farce of taxpayer funding of trade unions must end.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance has today exposed the scandalous extent to which the public are still subsidising trade unions. Taxpayers are shelling out at least £113m a year in paid staff time (£92m) and direct payments to unions (£21m).
Whilst the full-time equivalent number of staff provided for unions has fallen slightly in absolute terms from 3,084 to 3,041, the faster fall in public sector employment means that the proportion of public sector staff who really work for unions has increased.
A move to greater transparency may be on the cards in Hull, according to a report in the Yorkshire Post. Ian Anderson, Town Clerk at Hull City Council, has stated in a briefing note that an officers’ register of interests should be created and would apply to those officers “who clearly make decisions, influence policy, expend significant amounts of money, thereby putting staff accountability on the same basis as elected members”.
In addition to that, there is also a recommendation to publish salaries that are above the average weekly wage. What is unsure though is what average weekly wage he is referring to. The UK average is £473 per week. In Hull, the average is £222.50. Continue Reading
We can today reveal that trade unions received at least £113 million in subsidies from taxpayers in 2011-12. The value of this subsidy has been exposed in the most extensive survey of national and local government ever carried out by the TPA. It shows that trade unions received an estimated £92 million in paid staff time (facility time) plus £21 million in direct payments in 2011-12. The research also demonstrates for the first time that public bodies are often deducting trade union subscriptions in the payroll process without charging the unions for that additional administrative support, despite union claims to the contrary.
The Cabinet office has announced that it plans to curb the amount of facility time within the Civil Service. Yet this report demonstrates why these reforms must go further to include all of the public sector rather than just Whitehall and its quangos. Last month we published a legal briefing that made it clear that public sector bodies are failing to control facility time as envisaged by employment law. This latest report reveals that hundreds of public sector bodies are still failing to even record the extent of facility time.
The key findings of this report are:
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“It is simply wrong that taxpayers are seeing their money used to pay thousands of trade union activists who organise strikes which disrupt the services they rely on and pay for handsomely. Thousands of staff who should be working for public services are working for the trade unions instead.
“Managers at too many public sector organisations are completely failing in their responsibility to control these costs and even keep proper records of the subsidies they are providing to the trade unions. Tens of millions of pounds are being wasted and supporting aggressive
political campaigns. The Government needs at least to extend the proposed reforms to the entire public sector and cut this scandalous subsidy.”