- Unemployment fell by 37,000 in the latest quarter to just under 2.5 million, the lowest since spring 2011
- It was the 10th consecutive fall and was coupled with another cut in the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance
- Figures show a 26,000 increase in the number of women out of work for up to six months, to reach 571,000, which may reflect changes to the benefits system
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Several people reported smelling gas in Wirral a day before a huge blast that left 34 injured and destroyed several buildings.