The number of people unemployed in the UK rose by 21,000 between December and February, compared with the previous three months, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It means there are now 1.7 million people out of work in the UK, but the unemployment rate remained at 5.1%.

Compared with the same period last year, unemployment fell 142,000, and the unemployment rate dropped from 5.6%.

Over the year, the ONS said wages including bonuses grew by 1.8%, and 2.2% excluding bonuses.

Nick Palmer, ONS statistician, said: "It’s too soon to be certain, but with unemployment up for the first time since mid-2015 - and employment seeing its slowest rise since that period - it’s possible that recent improvements in the labour market may be easing off.”Breaking news. More to follow shortly.