End taxpayer funding for the trade unions 3/5

Shortly before the last General Election, the TaxPayers’ Alliance produced a manifesto. Here is the latest in our series of posts looking at how the Coalition Government has performed in relation to our recommendations.

The full TaxPayers' Alliance manifesto can be found here.
Click here to see the full series of posts.

Everyone knew that some public sector workers worked for trade unions while continuing to be paid by taxpayers. But in 2011, the TaxPayers’ Alliance produced the first definitive research quantifying it. Facility Time, as it’s known, meant a taxpayer-funded subsidy of £80 million a year – and that was a conservative estimate.

Some Government departments have acted to cut back on this subsidy, which is good news as there were examples of teachers having not taught for decades, and nurses who hadn’t seen a patient in years.

The Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government were particularly quick to ensure that this subsidy was cut, but a lot more needs to be done in the healthcare and education sectors to make even more significant savings for taxpayers.

But it’s not just about the savings – we pay public sector workers to provide services, not work full time for the unions. Teachers should be in classrooms, and nurses should be at the bedside of sick patients. 

At the very least, public bodies should be looking to bring down facility time to private sector levels.

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