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UK Politics

GMB must pay back misused cash

One of Britain's biggest unions has been forced to pay back thousands of pounds to the Government after taxpayer funding designed for educational programmes was spent on iPads, hotels and a Christmas party.

The GMB Northern Region had to pay back £17,000 of "unionlearn" funding after a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) investigation found it was guilty of 11 allegations involving the "misdirection of public funds", made by two whistle-blowers.

BIS auditors ruled that the cash, from a £200,000 budget for education schemes, was spent on items including staff training that did not take place, computer equipment, five iPads and the production of a video in support of the Labour Party.

A GMB spokesman said: "The audit did not find any grounds for believing this was anything other than the wrong criteria being used on training events and a lack of central controls. Both of these problems have been addressed."