Aircraft maker Airbus is set to announce a major new deal which will help protect 9,000 British jobs.

David Cameron will visit the company later to hail the development as a vote of confidence in the UK aerospace sector.

The announcement is a welcome boost for British manufacturing and will provide further cheer on the jobs front after news on Wednesday of the biggest quarterly fall in unemployment for a decade.

Downing Street said the deal would protect 1,500 Airbus jobs in the UK and another 7,500 in the supply chain for the manufacturer.

The jobless total fell by 82,000 in the three months to October to 2.51 million, down by 128,000 on a year ago and the biggest reduction of its kind since spring 2001.

Employment jumped by 40,000 to 29.6 million, the highest figure since records began in 1971 and up by half a million on a year ago, although the number of workers in the public sector has continued to slump.