THE number of people claiming Universal Credits in Dunfermline and West Fife rose by 3.2 per cent last month.

The latest figures from the Department of Work and Pensions have revealed that 8,881 people received the benefit in July, 278 more than in June.

Across Fife, there was a 2.3 per cent rise with a total of 34,814 claimants.

Despite the increase, Dunfermline-based DWP partnership manager Phil Martin said the area was faring well and the most recent alternative claimant count, which shows the number of people looking for work, reduced by just over 5,000 compared to last year.

"People are going back to work and there continues to be a considerable range of vacancies," he said. "There are so many vacancies out there just now. We are working closely to get employers into the job centre so we can allow them to meet our clients.

"We are also arranging more job fairs which give customers a chance to speak to employers a bit more informally and to ask questions.

"The next big one is at the Glen Pavilion on September 1. We have got 24 employers coming along already but we are hoping to get 27 or 28.

"That one is open to everyone not just the unemployed. We are hoping to get around 400 to 500 people from across Fife to it as the vacancies are across the whole of Fife."

Employment opportunities, he added, were available in the care sector, retail and security while Fife Council, Tesco and Amazon are also recruiting.