Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, comments on unemployment figures:
"These disastrous unemployment figures mark a bleak end to 2011. The government's policies mean things could be even worse in the New Year.
"The government's claim that the private sector would create hundreds of thousands of jobs was as believable as Father Christmas.
"The coalition's policies of deep cuts, attacks on the public sector and on our employment rights mean there is little hope things will improve in the New Year.
"There is no sign that the private sector is creating any jobs, and the government has no strategy for manufacturing which should be driving the economy.
"Britain urgently needs a major change in direction. Tragically we will get more of the same or worse."