Trade unions provide majority of Labour Party funding

Three-quarters of funding received by the Labour Party now comes from trade unions, it has emerged.

Figures from the Electoral Commission show that the Labour Party received £3.4m in donations between April and June this year, and that £3 out of every £4 came from unions.

Last year, only half of the £21.7m that the party received in donations came from unions.

Labour is becoming increasingly reliant on union funding as it tries to repay more than £28m in loans from banks and supporters, which the party borrowed to pay for last year’s election.

The figures heighten fears that the unions wield a disproportionate amount of power over the government. The latest figures show the percentage of the working population who are union members stands at 29% – less than one in three.

The Trade Union Membership 2005 report, based on the Labour Force Survey for autumn 2005, published by the Department of Trade and Industry, shows that less than one in five (17.2%) employees in the private sector were union members in autumn 2005.

Francis Maude, Conservative party chairman, said: “The Labour party is now almost entirely dependent on the unions. In return, unions are getting pet policies and bungs with taxpayers’ money. This sort of cronyism undermines the entire democratic process.”

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