Millions of pounds of taxpayer-funded subsidies are still being dished out to trade union ‘Pilgrims’ across the country, a report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance has found. Despite promises by the government to clamp down on so-called ‘facility time’, there remain 371 local authority staff members who spend more than half their time working for trade unions, while being paid by the taxpayer. The cost of facility time (paid time-off taken by trade union representatives to carry out union duties) was at least £14,648,030 since 2012. Nearly a third of those local authorities analysed did not publish the data on their involvement with unions, thereby breaking the law.
The map of local authority Pilgrims waste extends across Britain:
- The worst offenders nationally are Birmingham City Council with £1,124,924 and Leeds City Council with £502,095;
- In the North East, Sunderland – £258,697;
- In the North West, Bolton – £390,481;
- In Scotland, City of Edinburgh – £244,576;
- In the East Midlands, Leicester City Council – £494,544;
- In the South West, Bristol City Council – £134,931;
- In the East of England, Suffolk County Council – £189,741;
- In London, Lambeth Borough Council – £281,000;
- In the South East, Brighton and Hove City Council – £262,016.
Alex Wild, Research Director of the TPA, said:
“Trade unions are voluntary bodies of members and so should only receive the support of those members, not taxpayers. A huge amount continues to fund union duties, often without the express knowledge or consent of taxpayers, which simply isn’t right.”