The newly published papers reveal the true extent of the union funding of the Labour Party and why it is impossible for it to reform party funding to be more reliant on smaller individual donations rather than large scale individual (Ashcroft, etc) or union funding:
- Many union members would not pay a political levy to the Labour Party if given a choice.
- Some trade unions affiliate more individuals to the Labour Party than they have union members paying a political levy (only money from the political levy can be used for political purposes).
- From 2001 to 2006, the unions gave the Labour Party £45 million in cash.
- Trade unions pay £1 million a year to the Labour Party at a local and regional level, tying in local Labour Party branches through binding “Constituency Development Plans”.
“The trade union would be able to collect donations from its members, and would be required to pass the donation to the political party of the individual’s choice. Where members decided to donate to the political party the union had affiliated to, these payments would form the collective affiliation fee. The union would therefore be affiliating based on 100% of its members who contributed towards the affiliation fee. The union would continue to collect a political levy from members to fund other political activities. Trade unions would annually ask each member whether they wanted to make a donation and if so, how much and to which political party”
Shockingly figures revealed by the Labour party at the meeting also showed that in 2001 Union funds represented 81% of all cash donations to the party averaging 66% of all donations between 2001 and 2006.
Total donations in cash to Labour Party
Donations from trade union (including affiliation fees) to Labour Party
Percentage of cash donations from trade unions