By Marcus Leach

Both Unite and UNISON have reacted strongly to the figures released today that showed unemployment in the UK has risen by 27,000 in the three months to January, the worst they have been in seventeen years.

Whilst others have greeted the figures with a mix of optimism and pessimism Unite and UNISON have not been as positive in their reaction.

"Youth unemployment is at record levels and unemployment is the highest in 17 years and will continue to get worse,” Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said.

“It's outrageous for Chris Grayling to claim there is some good news in these figures. Only a party that is completely out-of touch with what is really happening to Britain would try to claim there is hope in its economic policies. There is no good news only the tragedy of a lost generation of young people.

"The government's aloof response to mounting unemployment will give no confidence that it is committed to growth, or it understands that not only is it stimulating unemployment, it is also stimulating a rise in insecure work. It is not just joblessness we need to fear but job insecurity and low waged work. How can this be deemed growth?

"Not so long ago we thought we'd left the scourge of mass unemployment behind us. The people of this country have a right to be very angry that this government has brought ruined lives and towns back to Britain. Unless this Tory-led government changes course it will break Britain."

Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, was equally downbeat about the figures.

“The Government’s cuts driven policies are driving the country into the ground,” he said.

“They are failing our young people with 16-24 year olds facing a future without the hope of a decent job. An abandoned generation, collateral damage of the Government’s failing economic policy.

Concluded Field: “Young people are recognising that work experience can be an incredibly valuable way to get a step on to the work ladder, especially when they are facing the prospect of rising unemployment. Employers need to be flexible and create more options to tap into this important talent pool.”