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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 Leigh of Hurley Lord Leigh of Hurley Conservative 3:15 pm, 25th April 2016

I welcome Amendment 1. The Select Committee actually said there is a “lack of transparency” over how political funds are spent. Such transparency would assist union members in having an informed choice over whether to sign up to paying a political levy. The amount of money in political funds varies from £14.8 million in reserves for Unite to £8.2 million in UNISON and so on. While I welcome Amendment 1, which seeks to categorise payments, Amendment 2 would take away the whole point of the transparency that would allow union members to see how their money is spent when it is not being spent directly on political parties.

The move to transparency is taking place throughout all areas of our lives. In the Conservative Party manifesto—indeed, it is actually happening—the Government committed to disclose online any expenditure over £25,000. Given the amount of money the Government spend in a year, it does not seem unreasonable to look for similar transparency on union political spending.