Amidst all the debate about the £10 million a year the trade unions find to give to the Labour Party there should be some reflection as to why the unions have so much spare cash in the first place. It is because the salaries of 2,493 union officials are picked up by the taxpayer.
Today the Conservatives are highlighting the £186,877 spent by Ed Miliband’s local council, Labour-controlled Camden, on full-time equivalent union officials from Unison and the GMB trade unions. These two unions alone have donated more than £8 million to Labour in the last two years.
The Government is encouraging all councils to cut back spending on these trade union ‘pilgrims’.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, says:
“Ed Miliband’s local council exposes the true face of Labour. Labour are wasting taxpayers’ money on hiring full-time trade militants, while closing down libraries. The unions bankroll the Labour Party and
in return, Labour councils use the rates to bankroll the unions.
“By contrast, Conservative councils are scrapping these jobs for the boys, helping protect frontline services and keeping council tax down for hard-working families and pensioners.”
The Taxpayers’ Alliance has found that Camden Council is ‘permitting local trade unions to milk the taxpayer by having rent-free use of an unused Council building that should have been earmarked for disposal while paying the salaries of trade union representatives who are spending their time working on anti-cuts campaigns."
Labour have twice voted to keep council funding for union officials. In February, Labour’s Councillor in charge of Finance on the Council, Theo Blackwell, defended the expenditure, saying "I have been talking about moving them into improved accommodation which I’m happy for the ratepayer to pay for."