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."