Hundreds of people in Glasgow have been hit by the Universal Credit benefit cap, due to more claims since lockdown, according to new figures.

The DWP statistics show that in May this year 830 households had a cap applied.

In March the number was 320.

The figures reflect the economic crisis and a rising number of new claims for Universal Credit since lockdown with more people losing their job.

The number of claimants affected by a benefit Cap in Glasgow has steadily increased since Universal credit was rolled out in September 2018.

However even before lockdown the number in Glasgow was on the rise.

The number hit by the cap in Glasgow has rocketed in the last year from 140 in May 2019.

In May this year, 6,034 households in Scotland were hit by the benefit cap, compared to 3,428 in February, an increase of 76% compared to before the pandemic.

Housing campaigners said the policy is leading to increased hardship at a time when more people need help, and called for the benefit cap to be scrapped.

Of the households capped 2,157 (36%) saw their need assessed benefits docked by £50 or more per week, and 743 (12%) lost £100 or more per week.

More than two thirds of those hit by the cap were single parent households

Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland Director said: “With thousands of people losing work as a result of the pandemic, leaders across the UK should be focused on protecting families’ incomes and keeping them in their homes.

“But instead, the benefit cap is forcing families into poverty and hardship at the worst possible time.

“By increasing funding for crisis grants, the Scottish Government has gone some way to plug the gap in household budgets. But this problem needs to be tackled at source. The UK government must scrap the cap.”

The statistics show that in May this year 302 people had their housing benefit capped in Glasgow, and 250 of those would not have been capped under previous rules in 2017.

The cap for outside London for housing benefit is £384 per week for couples of single parents and £257 per week for single people.

The figures are also a reflection of what is happening across the UK.

The UK Government said: “The COVID-19 pandemic which spread to the UK in early 2020 has affected the entire population with many businesses unable to trade and many employees being temporarily unable to work.

“As a result, there has been a marked increase in the number of claims for UC. The impact of this increased demand would be reflected in these statistics.

“As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DWP has put in place temporary emergency measures. As part of these, changes have been made to UC alongside other schemes the government has introduced.

“For one year, the standard allowance of UC has been increased by £20 per week from 6 April 2020 above the already announced annual uprating, raising the standard allowance from £317.82 to £409.89 per month (for claimants aged 25 and over).”

Last week the Glasgow Times revealed a House of Lords Economic affairs Committee report which said Universal Credit was not working for those it was supposed to help.

It also called on the government to “review the level of the benefit cap and its effect on hardship and poverty.”