The Labour Party is desperately dependent on cash from Unison. The last quarter saw the union pour £760,825 into the Party's coffers. It used to donate around £1.5 million a year but the recent figures suggest this is being doubled as the election approaches. Of course as the ones paying the piper they can demand to call the tune. Given so many of their members work in local government this explains why "producer capture" is so rife in Labour councils – things are run in the interests of the workforce rather than residents.
This is not to say that Tory Councils should ignore union proposals. As mentioned before sometimes interests will coincide and the unions will have a point about the cost of agency workers being used. The difference is that the Tories can consider such matters on merit, they are no beholden to the unions.
One of Unison's demands, on a Labour Party website called Tory Stories, is for higher Council Tax in Nottinghamshire. The union rep, Ravi Subramanian, comments:
Raising council tax by a modest 3 per cent would raise £9m. The weekly cost would be 46p for a Band A house rising to £1.37 for a Band H house.
The problem for him is that the people in Nottinghamshire don't want higher Council Tax. That is one reason why last June, when elections were held, Labour were thrown out and there was a decisive Conservative victory. Do the diminished group of 13 Labour councillors on Nottinghamshire support Unison's call for higher Council Tax? Have they learnt nothing?
Instead under Conservative administration Nottinghamshire County Council is planning to freeze the Council Tax not just for the coming year but the year after that and the year after that. Council owned Care homes are being sold to private or charitable concerns to provide more places and better care at a lower cost.
There will be big savings in staff training (£480,000 from Adult Social Care alone.) Councillors expenses budget is being cut by £70,000, a scrutiny officer post "deleted", three post reductions and other savings in Partnerships and Diversity will save £149,000. Communications spending will go down by £135,000 with he Council newspaper becoming less frequent. Corporate Human resources will see 12 posts go saving £376,000. Withdrawing car user allowances for staff will save £1.6 million. Removing the additional annual leave for staff who have worked over 10 years will save another £1.3 million.
The vulnerable are being protected. There will be more spending in various ways to give more help to the elderly and the disabled. But bureaucracy will be cut. 475 posts will go although natural wastage will mean redundancies kept to a minimum. Procurement will be more efficient.
This is what a Conservative council looks like. A Labour Council could not do this. Because Unison wouldn't let them.