THE number of people claiming out-of-work benefits has increased.

The latest job figures for August showed that the claimant count was 1,150, compared to 1,095 in July but 65 less than the same time last year.

There were 235 claimants aged 18 to 24, which is five fewer than last month and 40 fewer compared to the same time last year.

The August figures could reflect workers from Gelpack who may have started claiming after 175 redundancies were made.

Mandy Bateman, from the Department for Work and Pensions, said: "We help everyone who comes through the door. The claimant count has gone down compared to last year.

"We offer them a whole range of intensive support. All of the people from Gelpack - we were able to secure employment from another employer quite quickly with our support."