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Politics 'controlled by the rich'
Politics has been controlled for too long by those who have too much money and power, the head of the TUC will argue.
In her first speech to the TUC Congress as general secretary, Frances O'Grady will call for ordinary people to share in the economic recovery. She will challenge politicians from all parties to say where they stand on issues such as pay, jobs, rights at work and privatisation of public services.
And in a reference to the row over funding of the Labour party, she will say that union money is the "cleanest cash in politics".
She will tell the Bournemouth conference: "Whether unions set up a political fund is a matter for members, not ministers. Because for too long, politics has been controlled by those who already have far too much money and far too much power.
"Half the Conservative Party's funding comes from the City. One third of its new intake of MPs are drawn from the banking industry alone and we know what happens when the super-rich get to run the tax system.
"In contrast, unions are Britain's biggest democratic membership movement of ordinary people. We are already required by law to report our membership records every year. We have more than 10 times the membership of all of Britain's political parties put together. It may even be more. The truth is, we simply don't know.
"Because political parties don't have to account for their members, in the way that we have to account for ours. In fact, the Conservative Party refuses point blank to say how many members it has.
"So before he starts lecturing unions about transparency, the Prime Minister should take a long hard look in the mirror. We already publish our numbers. I challenge David Cameron to publish his.
"Here is the democratic bottom line: If unions were denied a political voice we wouldn't have had the 1944 Education Act, we wouldn't have the NHS, we wouldn't have equal pay for women, we wouldn't have a minimum wage, and remember who first exposed the scandal of tax avoidance?
"Who first raised the alarm about falling living standards? And who first blew the whistle on zero-hours? You can see why some people want to shut us up. That is why we must now stand up for our rights. Not just union rights - civil rights and people's rights."