Figures from the National Office for Statistics (ONS) have shown a rise in unemployment of 38,000 in the three months to April, taking the total number of unemployed to 1.64 million.

The ONS said that the unemployment rate had risen from 5.2 per cent to 5.3 per cent. May saw the fourth consecutive increase in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit, with an extra 9,000 signing up for benefits, taking the total number to 819,000.

Wage growth also slowed in the three months to April, with the rate of increase in average earnings dropping from 4.0 per cent to 3.8 per cent.