Figures just released show the unemployment figure as having risen to 1.82 million.

Before the figures were released, former Chancellor Ken Clarke predicted on the Today programme that unemployment would "surge" in the New Year:

"I think we’re going to have a big loss of jobs once Christmas is over. The nearest parallel we have to now is 1929. This is a financial crash of a very serious kind.”

We’ll post further Tory reaction as it happens…

10.30am: Chris Grayling’s reaction: "The trend in the unemployment figures is now becoming really damaging and will be a huge worry up and down the country.  What Britain desperately needs now is the kind of employment policy we announced on Tuesday offering tax cuts for new jobs to keep Britain working.  The Government seems to have no idea of how to deal with the rising problem of joblessness.”

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