This Government has taken action to tackle the taxpayer-funded subsidies that previously were handed to the trade unions. Such payments were poor value for money and represented an unhealthy relationship between the state and voluntary sector.
Trade union activities and campaigning in the public sector should be funded by members' subscriptions, not bankrolled by the taxpayer. Greater freedom from state dependency will help ensure that trade union bosses better reflect and respond to the wishes and views of the grassroots members who pay the bill.
In 2013-14, the first year of the new regime, departmental facility time staffing costs were reduced to £47,620. To place in context, previous years were £153,814 in 2012-13, £140,687 in 2011-12, £177,100 in 2009-10 and £245,644 in 2008-09.
Figures for our public bodies are shown in the attached table, and show a total reduction of £222,303 in 2013-14 on the year before. There are additional further sayings from a reduction in union expenses (now zero across the Department and our public bodies).
We have also issued guidance to councils to follow our example in delivering sensible savings. We have amended the local government Transparency Code to increase openness and accountability over such taxpayer-funded payments to the trade unions.