Unlock Democracy welcomes U-turn on trade union political funding

Press release - for immediate release
Statement from Unlock Democracy
Contact: Alexandra Runswick (alex.runswick@unlockdemocracy.org.uk T: 020 7239 9051 M: 07739 586 666)

This morning, the government have introduced amendments to the Trade Union Bill which would delay changes to trade union political funds. These changes would give party leaders the opportunity to renew cross-party talks to clean up political party funding.

The amendments, tabled this morning by Sajid Javid, accept the main conclusions reached by the cross-party committee on party funding in the House of Lords. The switch to an opt-in system for political funds would only apply to new union members, and only after a transition period of 12 months. The switch would only take place after consultation with trade unions, the trade union Certification Officer, and approval by both Houses of Parliament. [1]

Commenting on the government’s U-turn, Alexandra Runswick, Director of Unlock Democracy, said:

“These delays to the changes to trade union political funds are very welcome. The government have listened to the cross-party consensus saying that they shouldn’t make unilateral changes to political party funding. The switch to an opt-in system will now only take place after proper consultation and agreement from both Houses of Parliament.

The party funding system is crying out for reform, but that won’t happen by looking only at trade unions. Big donations shouldn’t be able to buy access or influence, no matter what the source.

The Trade Union Bill has put party funding back on the agenda, but it shouldn’t be the last word. These delays give party leaders the perfect chance to get round the negotiating table and clean up political party funding once and for all.”  

ENDS

Notes

Unlock Democracy is a grassroots campaign for fair politics, accountable government and citizen engagement.

[1] Amendments k-o http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0165/amend/tradeunion_day_ccla_0426.1-6.html