The rate of unemployment has risen to 7.2%, according to the latest figures.

Published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the rate increased by 0.1% compared with the three months to November 2013.

UK unemployment had fallen by 125,000 to 2.34m in the three months to September 2013.

Employment now stands at more than 30m for those aged 16 and over, a rate of 72.1%, up 193,000 on the figure from July to September 2013.

The ONS also said the inactivity rate for those aged 16 to 64 was 22.1% for the three months to December 2013, virtually unchanged from July to September 2013.

The data also showed that more women were in work than at any time since records began in 1971, reported as just over 14m.

Meanwhile, total pay between October to December 2013 rose by 1.1% compared with the same period in 2012.

The announcement follows figures revealing the UK inflation rate fell to 1.9% in January 2014 - below the Bank of England’s 2% target for the first time since November 2009.