Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Labour Gives More Taxpayers' Money to the Unions

Outrageous. THIS is the way Labour is funding its election war chest. It uses taxpayers' money to give to the Unions to "modernise" through the Union modernisation fund. And then the unions give it back to the Labour Party in the form of donations. In other areas it would be called a kind of protection racket.

Trade unions’ efforts to support vulnerable workers were given a boost today as Lord Young announced Government funding for fourteen new projects at the TUC Annual Congress.

A total of £2.46 million will be made available to help unions improve their ability to meet the needs of hard-to-reach groups of vulnerable workers. It will be matched with at least an equivalent union contribution.

The money will be distributed under Round Three of the Union Modernisation Fund which provides financial assistance to trade unions and their federations for innovative projects with the potential to transform their effectiveness. Bids are assessed by an independent Supervisory Board comprising individuals from union, academic and industry backgrounds.

I presume this sort of thing will be among the first to be banned by a Conservative government. If the unions want to modernise they can pay for it themselves.

59 comments:

David said...

You know I am starting to think this 10% cut malarky is going to be easier than we thought.

talwin said...

Fine. Let's see comprehensive, accounts of expenditure with full audit trail.

Anonymous said...

To most people it is known as money laundering.

Matthew said...

Iain,

Please can you clarify how you think this works?

As I understand it, trade unions can only donate money to political parties from their political funds, which are levy-funded and ringfenced for political campaigning activity.

The activities funded by the Union Modernisation Fund are non-political.

Therefore I don't quite understand how such a cross-subsidy could occur. Please could you clarify?

AP said...

Kleptocrats

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Dave will force through the £50,000 donation cap; then it won't matter anyway.

Silent Hunter said...

Iain,

Is this for real?

As has been pointed out - isn't that called "Money Laundering" ?

Are the Mafia running the Labour Party now?

A Very Public Sociologist said...

I don't know why you're moaning. How many billions of tax payers' money has gone to business in the form of bailouts, tax relief, sweeteners etc.? I bet not one penny of that has ever ended up in Tory coffers.

Only the most hardest of hearts would object to a couple of hundred million going to the most exploited workers to help organise for a better deal for themselves.

Also, Matthew above is spot on.

Sean Haffey said...

Several weeks ago, Unite sent an invitation to everyone in my company to join the union. As I've blogged, the simple fact that Unite donated £15m to the Labour Party last year is enough reason for me to decide I want nothing to do with them.

This kind of thing is profoundly undemocratic and the Labour-unions relationship is way too cosy.

Anonymous said...

i dont think an african dictator would get away with this.

tory boys never grow up said...

"And then the unions give it back to the Labour Party in the form of donations"

Perhaps you could explain the mechanism by which this happens - since by law only the political levy paid by individual unionists can be used for the unions political activities - and the whole process is subject to independent audit and review by the Trade Union certification officer. And perhpaps you should appreciate that these are laws introduced by Conservative Governments.

Of course the accusation you are making is libellous and just reflects your view that all activities by Trade Unions are political and hence not legitimate.

Cue buckets of bile from the sock puppets!

Anonymous said...

The Union Modernisation Fund Supervisory Board

Ha ha ha ha ha .....

Stepney said...

Off topic but listening to Yvette Cooper and Teresa May on the World at One is a perfect example of why even basic competence must return to the front benches of both parties.

Two bumbling incompetents saying words in any order, no point, no direction, no information. Cooper waffling away ad infinitum, May facing an open goal and preferring to look at the daisies on the pitch.

Like two toothless old men trying to nuzzle each other to death.

Pathetic.

Thomas said...

This kind of thing has been going on for years.

Quangos & advisor bodies are stuffed to the gunnels with Union lackies, wives, girl friends, offspring, etc etc.

It will take years to winkle them out and cost a fortune.

It really is nothing less than systematic corruption.

Anonymous said...

Nothing that Nulabor does surprises me these days.

Imagine what they would have said if they'd caught the Tories doing the same kind of thing.

Odd that the BBC doesn't seem to have picked up on this story (hahahah).

JMT said...

is not a protection racket - it is money laundering. This money has been taken from the taxpayer and serves no other purpose.

Letters From A Tory said...

Matthew 12:25pm - yes, unions have separate political funds raised partly through levies but it is their own choice as to how much of the annual membership fees are entered into their political funds.

Trade unions could easily reduce their political donations and instead put more membership levies towards modernising themselves, but they actively choose not to, safe in the knowledge that a healthy chunk of cash is coming straight from the government.

Praguetory said...

These arrangements were in both the little and big editions of the Red Book of New Labour Sleaze. Those questioning whether it is the same money as is then regurgitated back into the Labour Party are being disingenuous at best. These funding arrangements displace the need to raise money from their membership allowing them to give more back to 'the party'.

Labour = Liberal Democrat said...

This is shocking - Labour waste money hand over fist and then effectively pay for the election campaigning by using taxpayer money launded through the unions!

Anonymous said...

"As I understand it, trade unions can only donate money to political parties from their political funds, which are levy-funded and ringfenced for political campaigning activity."

If TU want to pay for Modernisation and to give money to the Labour Party they clearly need a certain amount of money to do both. If the Government gives them enough for one then it doesn't take a mathmatical genius to work out that they won't need to split their resources to fund the other.

Ring-fencing is a crock if all it means is that they can shift the rest of their money in to politics.

pluralprogressive said...

I concur, Matthew and AVPS.

If we subsidise businesses and executives, then why can't we subsidise workers organising themselves against state-sponsored business?

Iain's opinion is why all efforts to win over trade unions by the Tories are doomed to fail. They just can't grasp the concerns of workers.

golden_balls said...

@ matthew

Iain doesn't allow the facts to get in the way of biased reporting he won't reply so don't go holding your breath.

He's still one of the more interesting blogs just don't take his posts as gospel.

Jimmy said...

Ideally they could be able to fund proposed inheritance tax entirely from cuts directed at workers.

"Fine. Let's see comprehensive, accounts of expenditure with full audit trail."

Because union finances are such closely guarded secrets?

"Therefore I don't quite understand how such a cross-subsidy could occur. Please could you clarify?"

I think Chris Morris put it best: "There's no evidence, but it's a fact."

James said...

Matthew - the point is that the Unions could use the money they pour into Labour's coffers to fund these projects themselves.

The Union's wouldn't be impacted and the public would save some money. The only losers would be the Labour party - which is effectively siphoning money from the State.

Snake oil salesman said...

If you saw Ed Milliband on the TV at the TUC you will have heard that the Vesta wind turbine factory on the IoW is to be shut and a similar factory opened up in, wait-for-it, the NE. Creating jobs in the heartland eh.

Little Ed didn't know what to when support for the Vesta workers came from the floor.

Anonymous said...

@A Very Public Sociologist

1st Union activities should be funded by union members, not the tax payer.

If unions want to expand their reach it isn't the taxpayers duty to help them. In fact, given the past record of unions it would be more sensible to stop them.

2nd the money doesn't go to workers it goes to union lackeys to misspend as they see fit.

3rd Any union money saved by this subsidy releases funds for other activities (paying for pro-labour literature as that isn't covered by the donation ring fencing)

Chris

Penfold said...

Seems like the Unions are doing the JobCentre's work for them....Why?.

It would also appear from the manner of its implementation that this project is highly discriminatory and very possibly illegal under equal opportunity laws implemented by Brussels.

An all party investigation is necessary; as is the repayment of all monies paid out under the modernisation fund. It smacks of bribery and corruption, again illegal.

Scary Biscuits said...

Iain, it doesn't need to be banned by the Tories; it already is. They just need to enforce the law, particularly the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889-1914.

These acts makes it illegal to give a donation which influences the way somebody performs their job. The 1914 Act removes the presumption of innocence where a government official is involved. That is, the mere act of giving money to an official such as a minister of the crown (or his concerns) is illegal unless the participants can prove it was not a corrupt transaction. This would appear to cover the Warrick Agreement and all the union donations which come with conditions attached. It would also appear to apply to Rod Aldridge's donations to Labour out of the profits of Capita etc.

The MP's expense farrago was so not the end of the corruption scandal that is the current Parliament.

Uncle Bob said...

Cutting Labour's under the counter deals are going to be some of the easiest and rewarding cuts Cameron's government will be able to make. Also the employment of Union staff in the public sector. If the unions want to have people there solely to do Union work then they should be the one paying the wages, not the taxpayer.

ukipwebmaster said...

Catch up - this has being going on for ages.

Scottish Politics said...

Anyone have a breakdown of the full amount the labour Government gives to the Trade Unions?

tory boys never grow up said...

"yes, unions have separate political funds raised partly through levies but it is their own choice as to how much of the annual membership fees are entered into their political funds."

Just plain wrong I'm afraid only the political levy can be used for unions' political activities. Go and look at the law and unions accounts.

Bobby Prescott said...

I do not see what is wrong with the giving money to the unions. It is a way of helping workers groups.

Bishop Hill said...

There's also ten times that amount going to the TUC from DCSF, allegedly in order for the TUC to provide training.

True Belle said...

Darlings, have you forgotten that taxpayers money was used to buy extra large loo seats and clear out moats and buy floating duck islands , and add to the tuck boxes as well?

Disgusting , disgraceful and dishonest thing to do re NuLab.

BUT if I see the Tories swilling champers or nibbling canapes at the party conference, I will be equally furious because impoverished elderly ladies give up their minimum of at least £5 + membership in good faith to support the Tory cause!

Anonymous said...

Britain is corrupt.

trevorsden said...

Golden Balls - as others have pointed out - Iain is correct. We have blatant money laundering and Labour effectively funding itself from taxpayers money. Its been well known for quite some time.

Labour are a bunch of lying bastard toe rag scum. Get used to it. And keep apologising for them if you want.

Jimmy said...

"Matthew - the point is that the Unions could use the money they pour into Labour's coffers to fund these projects themselves."

You're proposing this be financed by embezzlement of the ring-fenced political funds?

That's blue sky thinking alright.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're covering this, Dale, but it's not a new story. Labour has been using the unions to wash taxpayers' money for a very, very long time. I remember talking to people about it ten years ago.

Anonymous said...

i dont think an african dictator would get away with this.

No, you're wrong. An African dictator would certainly get away with this. Where do you think Labour got the idea?

Walsingham's Ghost said...

This has been going on for a long, long time. For example, why do you think Teaching can fund so many separate Trade Unions within a single profession?

WG

pluralprogressive said...

If TU activity should be funded by the members, not the state, then surely we should be applying the same mentality to businesses. Should the taxpayer subsidise business? They subsidise it already, but should that practise carry on? I think not, but why they do get Government hand outs then TU's should have access to Government cash to modernise and provide a quality service to it's membership (it's shareholders to those that want to put a market spin on this).

Kit Leary said...

*sigh*

First off, I don't generally approve of Government money going to unions, on the principle that trade unions should be beholden to their members and not the Government.

However, the idea that the UMF is a funnel for state money to the Labour Party is absolute bunkum and, as others have pointed out, bordering on libel.

Political funds are a fixed percentage of subscriptions. This is why, in some cases (such as UNISON), if you opt out of paying any political levy, you actually get a rebate on your subs. The amount of levy that is included in your subs is fixed either by the union's rulebook or by conference policy; so it can't be changed by a click of the fingers.

There are 212 Trade Unions registered with the Certification Office, according to the BERR (source: http://tinyurl.com/pbyvfs). There are only 15 uniona affiliated to the Labour Party (source: http://www.unionstogether.org.uk/pages/member_unions).

It would be fair to assume that only a minority of unions getting UMF cash are affiliated to the Labour Party.

Plus, UMF money, like any sort of Government money, is accountable, and there are accounts somewhere (though I'm not able to find them after a brief search). Also, unions publish their accounts and have to lodge them with the Certification Officer.

Don't you think that if UMF money was being funneled to the Labour Party, we'd have found out about it now?

Morons.

The fact is that I am sure that more money and resources are being "funneled" to the Conservative Party through short money, council-funded offices at Town Halls, etc. than unions get from the UMF. It would be an interesting piece of research...

Guthrum said...

Will the Tories hold the Labour Party to account for this theft of the Taxpayers money when they get in power ?

I doubt it very much indeed

Anonymous said...

Once again, Labour's funding of a public sector 'service' with taxpayers' money has failed totally. If the money was intended to modernise the unions, how come they are still the unreformed dinosaurs we remember from the '70s/80s.

James said...

The idea of taxpayers' money being pumped into unions to fund them holding us to ransom with threats of strikes and demands for increased subsidies, more generous pay etc disgusts me in the same way and for the same reason as quangos employing lobbyists to push for their own funding. The UMF should be terminated immediately, along with all other public funding for them.

Kit, why are there any exceptions? Surely opting out of the political part of your subscription should ALWAYS reduce the amount due, unless the political levy is already set at zero? Otherwise, the union is effectively charging a lower price to those who opt in - which is exactly the cross-subsidy which is supposed to be illegal.

I would certainly support a cap on donations to political parties - preferably zero for any entity other than an eligible voter.

nick said...

Whether the "political fund" is ringfenced or not, I don't want my taxes funding the unions.
On a related subject, is advertising by unions during an election campaign included in the cap on Labour's election spending? If not, why not, and if so why are they allowed to advertise on TV during commercial breaks rather than in official Party Election Broadcast slots?

Kit Leary said...

James asked me:

"Kit, why are there any exceptions? Surely opting out of the political part of your subscription should ALWAYS reduce the amount due, unless the political levy is already set at zero? Otherwise, the union is effectively charging a lower price to those who opt in - which is exactly the cross-subsidy which is supposed to be illegal."

I said "usually" or something like that because it depends from union to union and the only union which I know for sure that gives rebates on it's political levy for those who completely opt out is UNISON, because that's the union I'm a member of.

I can't speak for other unions, but I would imagine that if you opt out of the political levy, then that portion of your subscriptions would go to the union's other work - campaigns, administration, anything else.

Your argument that those who opt in to the political levy (it's probably more accurate to refer to it as "those who don't opt out" since you have to actively opt out of the levy) are paying less is absurd. Most people accept that political work - and by "political work" I include non-pro-Labour campaigning such as non-partisan lobbying, anti-privatisation campaigns etc - is part and parcel of the union's work.

Everybody pays the same and contributes. They don't pay more, the argument is an absurd fallacy.

Nick asks

"On a related subject, is advertising by unions during an election campaign included in the cap on Labour's election spending?"

Not as a part of Labour's spending, but they are capped to £5k per union as "third parties" and are regulated by the Electoral Commission.

There is nothing stopping Tory supporting groups which are independent of the Party from doing the same, though.

WV: "winge". Sums up most of the comments in this threat, tbh...

Anonymous said...

However, the idea that the UMF is a funnel for state money to the Labour Party is absolute bunkum and, as others have pointed out, bordering on libel.

Really? Then why don't they sue? "Bordering on libel" is a meaningles expression. Libel is binary - a thing either is or is not libellous. There is no halfway house.

So maybe all you Labour apologists should spare us your weasel words and your oh-so-worthy legal opinions and just bugger off back to LabourList where you can spend your days merrily chanting the latest mantra. Is it still "Labour Investment. Tory Cuts"?

belowtwo said...

We're going to need serious cash to tackle climate change

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=688HLeGghXs&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLoY1GsTu9M&feature=channel

Will the money be forthcoming?

Anonymous said...

Most people accept that political work - and by "political work" I include non-pro-Labour campaigning such as non-partisan lobbying, anti-privatisation campaigns etc - is part and parcel of the union's work.

Anti-privatisation campaigns are certainly partisan, being an ancient left-wing policy. You also don't deny that pro-Labour partisan work does go on with this money. Oh and "most people accept" isn't an argument.

So try again. Why do we need to pay left-wing organisations to campaign for left-wing values out of all of our taxes?


Shardovan

DespairingLiberal said...

Yes, this is so much worse than routinely taking in large sums from tax exiles who live abroad and who refuse to disclose the source of their income, as with the Conservative Party for example.

Anonymous said...

Yes Labour apologists.

God forbid that you bring facts into the issue or express your opinions or take part in the debate.

If libel is binary then why does it decided on by a judge and jury?

This contributor wins the prize for biggest moron on the thread. Cameron does not need defective hearts and minds like this

Retired Dave said...

Matthew - I was about to put you straight, thinking you naive or part of the problem.

BUT I see a few have pointed out that the level of political levy is in the hands of the individual union and they could simply levy less, then pay less to Labour and modernise themselves. They don't actually take the money out a whisky bottle (labelled political fund) you know.

It is corruption really however you look at it, whichever colour of government does it. BUT this lot have raised the practice to an art-form.

Oh BTW - I was a union member for over 40 years

Retired Dave said...

DespairingLiberal

Yes BUT that's not the point - this is a government giving money to the unions.

As I said in my comment above I was a union member for 40 years plus and we could as a union decide to support who we wanted - we didn't expect Tax Payers to fund it. GET A GRIP.

Newmania said...

These are additional amounts thought the total used to be about the same as the Unions actually did contribute to the Labour Party about £10,000,000.
Mathew is obviously thirteen years old ..he thinks you can ring fence money . Probably thinks you can juggle with water as well
It is a source of continuing amazement to me that in an age where 80% of the UK working population is not unionised 20% can openly buy Policy from the Labour Party to the detriment of the majority who then pay for the whole thing
Union political funding as a whole is a bizarre anachronism and should not be allowed beyond £50,000 or so. There is no amount of ‘ring fencing ‘that makes up for the fact that membership is linked to benefits not to say actual employment withheld from non members . All, of the members are at Liberty to give as much as they want privately so what’s the problem , if they wish to start up a Labour support club not linked to work and benefits they can do so , they could join the Labour Party in fact .

Example - teaches are only protected from malicious actions under their Unions , Unions should not do this but as long as they do who is not going to join


Wages in the Public sector the chief beneficiaries of this con have outstripped the private sector by x2 over the last ten years and lest not even get into pensions
Bottom line - If the people of this country re-elect a Brown owned by the Unions he will have to go to the tax payer to fill his gaping fiscal canyon .

It would be madness of a kind which rarely gets two chances

Jimmy said...

"they could join the Labour Party in fact . "

Remind me one day to tell you how the Labour Party got it's interesting name.

Anonymous said...

"BUT I see a few have pointed out that the level of political levy is in the hands of the individual union and they could simply levy less, then pay less to Labour and modernise themselves"

Perhaps those of us who pay the political levy are entitled to see that our contributions are spent on political activities - and in those cases where we have voted (under a law brought in by the Conservatives) for the levy to be used in affiliating to the Labour Party would expect it to be used for such a purpose.

Perhaps we could see an equal level of shareholder involvement being required when companies make political contributions.

Of course most of the Tories would like to see a system where individual workers are not allowed to act collectively in order to see their grievances addressed - because they know from long experience that is the best way of avoiding those grievances being addressed. They seem to have no problem with other groups acting collectively to influence government policy (e.g City,CBI, fox hunters etc.)

Newmania said...

They seem to have no problem with other groups acting collectively to influence government policy (e.g City,CBI, fox hunters etc.)


Yes you make a good comparison but while you might be sanguine at the thought of say the CBI funding the Conservative Party100% and openly buying Policy others are less so . In fact they have suggested that there be a limit of £50,000 so no special interest group can out bid the ordinary democratic process. Would you care to hazard a guess at who these deep thinkers are ?