David Cameron will be able to boast about his job creation credentials in the final run-up to the general election as the UK's unemployment fell to 5.6% in the three months to February.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also said that the employment rate has risen to 73.4%, up from 72.4% a year earlier. The research body explained that the figure was the highest since records began in 1971.

There were also 76,000 fewer than for the three months to November 2014 as the jobless rate dropped by 1% from 5.7% in the three months to January.

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Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander was quick off the mark to brag about the figures.

The senior Liberal Democrat took to Twitter within minutes of the release to outline that the government had overseen "record jobs, strong growth, rising pay, low inflation, more pensions [and a] income tax cut".

Elsewhere, Conservative employment minister Nick Boles stated: "Why is employment at record high, unemployment falling and wages rising? Because the Conservative economic plan is working."

The ONS also revealed that real wages grew over the same period as average weekly earnings hit 1.8%, against Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of 0% in February.

The Tories will hope that the positive economic news will edge them ahead in the opinion polls as 7 May looms.

The latest survey from YouGov, conducted between 15 and 16 April, found that Labour and the Conservatives were neck-and-neck (34% vs 34%).

The poll, which questioned more than 1,900 voters, also found that Ukip were on 14%, the Liberal Democrats on 7% and the Greens on 5%.