The West of Scotland has seen a rise of up to 900% in the number of households being affected by the UK government’s new benefit cap, new analysis by the Scottish Greens reveals. This means that North Ayrshire has the biggest percentage increase of any area in Scotland.

This also includes over 1,500 children across the West of Scotland and 11,000 throughout Scotland.

Ross Greer, Green MSP for the West of Scotland is urging the Scottish Government to use devolved powers to mitigate the policy, in the same way that the Bedroom Tax was offset, to prevent an average household losing around £2,000 a year.

The UK government's new benefit cap started to take effect in November last year and lowered the amount of support that a household can receive to £384.62 or £257.69 a week depending on circumstances. The Greens’ report shows that as a result, 3,700 families have been affected, an increase of over 3,000 compared to the previous cap.

Ross Greer said:

"Seven years into the Tories' cruel agenda of cuts, we now see the terrible impact on children in North Ayrshire and across Scotland. By reducing the social security support available, while ignoring rising housing costs, the UK government has pushed an additional 156 households into potential poverty and homelessness.

"Our analysis shows that to mitigate this unfair UK policy, the Scottish Government could take the same approach as it rightly did with the hated Bedroom Tax, and use its powers over Discretionary Housing Payments to end the misery caused by the Benefit Cap. This would cost between one and two million pounds a year, a drop in the ocean given the annual Scottish budget of around thirty billion, but it would make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable families across Scotland."