The campaign to end taxpayer funding of trade unions, building on pioneering TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) research, is gathering momentum as it is again raised in a major House of Commons debate. After PMQs today Jesse Norman MP (Hereford and South Herefordshire) is bringing a motion for a Bill to end the practice.
In 2010 the TPA undertook one of the most extensive Freedom of Information campaigns ever to establish the value of the direct grants and paid staff time that trade unions receive. The TPA's most recent, updated research estimated that trade unions received a total of £113 million of funding from taxpayers in 2010-11 (£80 million in paid staff time and £33 million in direct payments).
At least 2,840 full time equivalent public sector staff worked on trade union activities or duties at taxpayers' expense in 2010-11. There are now more taxpayer funded trade unionists in the UK than British Transport Police officers (2,835)
Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"It is great to see Jesse Norman moving to end this scandalous subsidy for unions that are disrupting services in a vain attempt to stop necessary restraint in public spending. Taxpayers shouldn't have to fund staff to work for trade unions, providing them with a huge activist base to support strikes and freeing up resources for political campaigns. Paying for the salaries of full-time union staff and the many grants the unions receive is yet another burden on hard pressed families, diverting money they expect to be spent on frontline services. MPs should vote to end that subsidy today."