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Unite warns its funding to Labour could be slashed

Len McCluskey
Image caption Len McCluskey warned Labour could see a drastic fall in funding from Unite

Unite has warned that changes outlined by Ed Miliband could cause a drastic cut in the union's funding of Labour.

Mr Miliband has said he wants to end the automatic "affiliation" fee paid by three million union members.

Unite currently affiliates around 1m members to Labour which results in fees to the party of around £3.25m.

But it believes the number of members affiliated to Labour could drop as low as around 75,000 after the changes - reducing fees to around £250,000.

The General Secretary of Unite, Len McCluskey outlined the prospect in in a letter to the union's Executive Council, the BBC has learned.

Earlier this week Paul Kenny, the General Secretary of the GMB, told the BBC that its affiliation fees to Labour could drop by as much as 90%.

Earlier this month, Mr Miliband pledged to end the automatic "affiliation" fee paid by three million union members to Labour.

It comes after Unite was accused of trying to rig the selection of the party's parliamentary candidate for Falkirk.

The Labour leader said changing its link with the unions would signal an end to "machine politics".

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