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    The UK’s unemployment rate has risen to 6.5 per cent, the Office for National Statistics has found, which may lead some people to consider debt management.

    In addition to this, the claimant count has also risen, with the growth of average earnings including and excluding bonuses decreasing.

    "We expect unemployment to rise to a peak of 3.3 million … around late-2010/early-2011. This would give an unemployment rate of around 10.5 per cent," comments Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight.

    January’s figures show a 0.5 per cent increase on the previous quarter and a 1.3 per cent rise on the same period last year.

    The rate of unemployment is now at its highest since 1997, totalling 2.03 million, the ONS reveals, with redundancies in the three months leading up to January standing at 266,000.

    A slowdown in the growth of average earnings was also noted by the ONS, which believes the level of growth was at 1.8 per cent over the quarter.

    Prior to yesterday’s announcement, experts had predicted the unemployment rate would exceed two million.

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