Taxpayers pay £113m to trade unions, reveals study

Trades unions received at least £113m in subsidies from taxpayers last year, according to a recent comprehensive survey of national and local government.  

An estimated £92m has been given to unions in paid staff time (“facility time”), with an extra £21m in direct payments.

The Metropolitan Police has the equivalent of 16 members of staff working full-time on trade union activities, with Transport for London having the equivalent of 34 staff.

The research indicates that hundreds of public sector bodies are failing to record the extent of facility time, after the Cabinet Office announced plans to curb the levels of facility time within the Civil Service.

Facility time is equivalent to 0.14% of the total annual pay bill in the public sector, a level of £240 million. Estimates indicate that if the level matched that of the private sector, 2,172 public sector staff could return to work.

Taxpayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said:

“It is simply wrong that taxpayers are seeing their money used to pay thousands of trade union activists who organise strikes which disrupt the services they rely on and pay for handsomely. Thousands of staff who should be working for public services are working for the trade unions instead.”

“Tens of millions of pounds are being wasted and supporting aggressive political campaigns. The Government needs at least to extend the proposed reforms to the entire public sector and cut this scandalous subsidy.”

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