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Trade Union Bill - Third Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 25th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Collins of Highbury Lord Collins of Highbury Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development) 3:15 pm, 25th April 2016

It was sunny, actually. In addressing the conference, I responded to concerns about this aspect of the Bill. The Minister mentioned good practice. USDAW’s annual report to its annual delegates’ conference itemises its range of political spending. I think that is repeated in its AR21 to the Certification Officer. People asked what the Government were seeking by this additional element in the amendment and whether they had consulted on it, as it could result in members becoming even more confused. For example, how much did unions spend on the Sunday trading proposals—an industrial campaign with elements of political spend? The campaign opposing violence against shop workers was again an industrial campaign with elements of political fund expenditure. So what is the point of having a statute that says what expenditure must come from a political fund, as clearly defined in the 1992 Act, when this Bill is saying that that is not enough? If money is spent out of that fund, it has to be reported to the Certification Officer. It is an additional requirement which is a burden; it increases red tape and I doubt whether the department, or the Minister, has properly consulted on it. I beg to move.