Labour leader calls for £5,000 cap on political donations, but wishes to maintain levy paid by three million TU members

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Trade unions would be banned from making donations of more than £5,000 to political parties under new regulations proposed by Labour leader Ed Miliband (Pictured, at TUC conference, September 2011).

But the three million union members who choose to pay a levy to the party would be allowed to continue.

Appearing on yesterday’s Andrew Marr show on BBC1, Ed Miliband said: “There is the world of difference between a wealthy individual giving millions, and millions of trade union levy payers paying a small sum of money to affiliate to the Labour Party.

“At a time when too much of politics is out of touch with the vast majority, I am proud that all these working people have a role in the Labour party. I am proud of our link to the unions. It is part of what makes Labour rooted in our communities and I am determined it will remain so.”

The Labour leader was taking the party funding fight to the Tories, who want a cap of £50,000 a year.

He said: “That is twice the average annual wage.

“The Tories would allow an individual to donate £250,000, or a married couple to give £500,000, over the course of a parliament. David Cameron has said he does not regard any donation of less than £50,000 as “significant”. But how many people could even consider giving such a sum in one year to a political party?

“A cap set at £50,000 would be unacceptable because it would still keep big money in politics and still leave parties open to questions about buying access.”

The move to cap donations at £5,000 would affect one-off donations from trade unions and would severely affect the Labour Party’s funding but, Miliband said, that would be a price worth paying for cleaning up politics.

* Read more here on UnionNews‘ investigation into how the Tories received £1m from their own “union”.


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