The unions are funding the demonstrators. But who is funding the unions? We are.
Conservative MP Matthew Hancock is speaking at the conference to put the case that councils can and should spend money on services, not union subsidies. He believes that rather than wait for new guidance from Eric Pickles they should get on with it. Council Taxpayers will be shocked that many Councils spend millions on full time trade union activities, not public services. ‘Pilgrims’ are fully salaried public servants who’s work hours are spent partly or fully undertaking trade union activities and using grace and favour facilities. They are present in public sector institutions from the local level (e.g. Local Authorities) up to the national level.
Mr Hancock raises an interesting question of what would happen if the matter was debated at a Council meeting and the matter went to a vote. The Localism Act requires Councillors to declare their financial interests, and makes provision for Councillors to be disbarred from voting where they have a conflict of interests. Therefore Union-supported Councillors will be unable to vote for public subsidy for unions. So this could be an interesting issue for Conservative councillors to table a motion on and have the prospect of having the motion carried even where there is a Labour-run council.
Matthew is expected to say:
“I am not against unions, but like most people I think unions should be paid for by unions members. Public money should pay for public services not pilgrims.
“Taxpayer subsidy of unions exploded under Labour, to the point that the TUC now receives fully three quarters of its funding from the public purse, runs a surplus of £40 million a year and is sitting on top of £1 billion of assets.
“The Localism Act is the chance for all Councils to end this unfairness and ensure taxpayers' money is spent on services not subsidies.”