The Spending Plan policy 34: scrap trade unions’ subsidies of facility time, grants and office space

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Trade unions should be voluntary bodies of members and they should look to their members for financial support, not taxpayers. Unions are subsidised through direct funding and through paid staff time within public sector bodies.

TaxPayers’ Alliance research has revealed that the cost of this has been over £100 million per year in recent years. The level of subsidy is now declining and the measures to limit the worst excesses are welcome but further action is necessary. Taxpayers should not be asked to fund any union activity and union members would enjoy more responsible unions if they had to rely on them and them alone for their finances.

Eliminating grants and facility time would save over £90 million a year in these costs. Further uncosted savings could be available from the reclamation of office space and equipment that is currently used by union officials, but we have not been able to estimate the extent of this.

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