UK job centre
The ONS said the UK's unemployment rate fell to 6.8% in the three months to MarchReuters

The UK's unemployment rate has hit a five year low after dropping to 6.8% in the three months to March, from the previous period of 6.9%, boosting the Coalition Government with less than a year to go before the 2015 General Election.

The move means the country's jobless rate has fallen to its lowest level since the start of 2009.

The research body also revealed that employment continued to grow as there were 30.4 million people in work in the three months to March, up from 30.2m in February.

The ONS said these increases in employment are partly due to more self-employed people as the UK's employment rate hit 72.7%, up from 72.1% in the three months to December.

The number of self-employed people jumped by 375,000 in the three months to March to reach 4.55 million.

There were also 2.21 million unemployed people in the three months to March, 133,000 less than the three months to December.

Pay including bonuses increased to 1.7%, above Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of 1.6% in the year to March.