By Max Clarke

Unemployment figures published by the Office for National Statistics today show an increase of 49,000 in the three months to November, taking the total to 2.5 million.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Britain’s largest public sector union, UNISON, has lambasted the Coalition government, blaming them for the rise; while Charlie Mullins, the entrepreneur and founder of the Pimlico Plumbers, is critical of Dave Prentis’ view that the Coalition is to blame for the latest rise in unemployment.

“The Tory-led coalition’s policies are poisonous for our recovery. They risk sending our economy into a further downward spiral”. Commented Prentis.

“Drastic cuts have hit the public sector hard, which is haemorrhaging jobs every day. Today Hampshire Council announced plans to cut 1,200 jobs, and Essex County is set to lose 200 . These cuts dampen demand and hit private firms dependent on public sector contracts. The private sector is no knight on a white charger waiting to come to our rescue.

“It’s misery for families, hit with a toxic cocktail of high inflation and the grim prospect of interest rate rises. They are desperately trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, with the ever-present threat of job cuts, hanging over them . Meanwhile it’s easy street for the bankers who caused this crisis, who are still making off with billions in bonuses.”

Charlie Mullins, however, believes that the trade unions should embark on a historical change of position in order to aid the employment recovery, instead of trying to derail it with "jeers from the sideline".

Mr. Mullins, said: “I can’t believe Dave Prentis had the temerity to heap the blame of rising unemployment on the coalition.

“Given the severity of the problem, perhaps a joint approach, rather than transparent point scoring might be the answer?

“It's time we took a bit more notice of someone in the business of helping young people find careers, like the Prince's Trust's chief executive, Martina Milburn, who is calling for a collaborative approach from government, charities and employers.

“Maybe the trade unions might even see fit to join in rather than jeering from the sideline? You never know, stranger things have happened!”