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20 November 2019updated 08 Jun 2021 11:09am

Jennie Formby writes to Labour staffers as party faces loss of more than £1m in funding

By Stephen Bush

Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby has written to all Labour party staffers to reassure them that they will keep their jobs until the end of the year, with decisions about staffing to be made next week. Labour’s loss of seats means that it will lose some of the money it receives through Short money – the public funding made available to opposition parties to assist them with scrutinising the government in Parliament – which will have major implications for the party’s staffing levels and finances over the course of the parliament.

Short money is calculated using a combination of votes and seats, leaving Labour on course to be £1.2m worse off over the course of the next parliament.

Formby will meet with the political officers of the affiliated trades unions  – generally the key day-to-day liaison between the trades unions and the general secretary – to discuss the shortfall. But the conversations are expected to include what one trade union official described as “tough and frank” discussions about the party’s future direction and leadership.

Although the letter is designed to reassure staff as much as possible, aides are well aware that it in practice is a warning that job cuts are coming. The political costs of defeat are already evident. Now Labour officials will face the personal ones, too.

The full letter is below.

Dear All,

Firstly, I want to thank you all for your fantastic work over the last six weeks. No-one could have done more than you during the election campaign, whether in London, Newcastle or in the regions – and I know that like me, you will be devastated at the prospect of a Johnson-led Conservative Government.

Of course we will now need to spend some time reflecting on the results to determine what our next steps should be, but we will always fight for our Labour values of inclusion, equality and compassion, and to do all we can to resist further privatisation and sell off our NHS and the terrible impact of Tory austerity.

I am conscious that many of you will be worried about what this means for you personally and I want to confirm that we won’t be making any decisions in relation to staffing until next week.

This includes those staff on contracts linked to Jeremy as Leader of the Opposition or to specific politicians. I want each of you to be able to rest over the weekend after the huge effort everyone has put in. Once the dust has settled we will confirm what this means for you and offer the opportunity to talk to one of the team about it. However, it is very important to reassure you straight away that no one from the above groups of staff will leave before the end of the year.

Importantly, we will arrange to meet early next week with the full time officers from each of the unions to discuss the impact of this result with a view to giving as much notice as possible to mitigate the impact of the reduction in short money.

Thank you again for everything you have done over the last six weeks. I am hugely proud to lead such a talented and dedicated team.

With kindest regards,

Jennie Formby

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