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MU Political Fund Ballot: Please Vote Yes

The MU is legally required to ballot its members every ten years on whether it should continue to have a political fund. Papers will be sent out this week so please look out for yours and return it as soon as you can.

Photo ofIsabelle Gutierrez
By Isabelle Gutierrez Published: 13 December 2023 | 4:59 PM
Naomi Pohl and Thangam Debbonaire at this year's Labour Party Conference.
MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Thangam Debbonaire at this year's Labour Party Conference. Image credit: The MU ©

We’ve had a political fund since 1913 and it is crucial to enable us to lobby parliament and the Government to protect musicians’ rights and livelihoods.

Lobbying Ministers, MPs and MEPs on behalf of our members is something that the MU does every day – and even under the current difficult administration, it really does yield results.

Examples of our recent successes and activities achieved through lobbying

The extension of the orchestral and theatre relief was a big lobbying success for the MU this year, and MPs and Peers have supported MU campaigns at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Northern Ballet by asking questions in parliament and making representations to Ministers.

Just under half of the political fund pays for our affiliation to the Labour Party, and this year we’ve been heavily involved in shaping Labour Party policy. Through our work on the National Policy Forum we secured major commitments on music education, touring in the EU and music streaming.

The political fund also allowed us to attend the Labour Party Conference and MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl spoke from the main stage about the current difficulties for our members. Speaking directly after the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Thangam Debbonaire, she particularly highlighted issues at Northern Ballet.


The political fund gives us the right to have a voice and to put forward the case for musicians

On a day-to-day basis, we continue to press politicians on issues such as funding for arts and culture, fair payment for musicians and protection of copyright. As a result of this lobbying, the MU has some very good and loyal friends amongst British MPs of all political persuasions.

The MU lobbies on its own for issues specific to musicians, but we also work with other performer groups on broader issues. So the Performers’ Alliance All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), made up of the MU, Equity and the Writers’ Guild is also highly active on your behalf. The MU’s political fund pays our share of the cost of this group.

One of the major achievements of the APPG is that it is genuinely cross party, something which is extremely rare for a trade union parliamentary group. The membership is made up of over 70 MPs and Peers from all political parties.

The political fund, in short, allows the MU to be political, with both a small p and a capital P. It gives us the right to have a voice and to put forward the case for musicians to the decision makers in this country and abroad, and it makes a real difference. When you receive your ballot paper in the next couple of weeks, please vote to keep it.

The facts

  • Members who have opted in contribute 2p in every £1 of their subscription fees to the Political Fund.
  • The elected Executive Committee controls how the money is spent. The Executive Committee is accountable to members through Conference and ensures that, when money is spent, a clear benefit can be seen for you.
  • Every member has the right to opt in or out of paying into the Political Fund whenever they want. Voting YES in the ballot just means that those members who do wish to pay into the Political Fund can continue to do so. It is important that you vote, and that you vote YES, so that all members can continue to benefit from the Union’s political campaigning.

For further information please visit our Political Fund Review Ballot 2023/2024 information page.

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