Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey comments on unemployment figures:
"The government has created a lost generation of young people unable to gain a foothold on the employment ladder.
"Ministers need to create a land bridge of opportunity for young people – our youth unemployment rate is twice that of Germany.
"It is not only a personal tragedy for the young people concerned, but it is also a waste of talent and potential, so necessary for economic growth, and is sowing the seeds for a whole raft of future social problems.
"The government needs to adopt a twin-track policy – having more targeted measures to help young people into work, while at the same time, reversing the hardline austerity measures that have sucked the life out of the British economy.
"One way forward would be to ensure that a greater percentage of apprenticeships should go to those aged under the age of 25.
"The rise in unemployment across the age range is an appalling indictment of the lack of economic imagination shown by this blinkered right-wing government.
"But it is not just young people facing unemployment pain. Women, who are doing skilled manual and admin/clerical jobs - many of them in the financially squeezed public sector - have either lost their jobs or face redundancy. Women also have the added burden of juggling the family finances, as inflation continues unabated.
"Manufacturing is struggling; consumer spending has been strangled; and economic confidence - whether it is investment decisions by business or job security for individuals - is at very low ebb."