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Labour 'faces fall in union money'

Changes to the historic link between Labour and trade unions will lead to a "substantial" fall in the amount of money given to the party through affiliation fees, a leading union has revealed.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has driven through reforms which mean that union members will have to opt in to pay an affiliation fee rather than be automatically enrolled.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is asking its 200,000 members if they want to continue paying a levy to Labour and while the result is not yet known, it is clear that funds will be cut.

During a debate at the union's annual conference in Bournemouth, deputy general secretary Andy Kerr predicted there will be a "very substantial drop" in the number of CWU members deciding to pay an affiliation fee to Labour.

The outcome will be less money to Labour, and more for the CWU to spend on political activities.

Delegates at the conference agreed to channel money through the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation (TULO), which runs campaigns on behalf of unions affiliated to Labour.

Mr Kerr said TULO had led campaigns on union rights and agency workers and helped Labour parliamentary candidates, but its budget had not increased since the group was set up in 1994.

A motion approved by delegates said other unions are highly likely to reduce money given to Labour through affiliation fees as a result of the reforms.

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