Croydon council is seeking extra funding from the Government because of the "unsustainable" costs of Universal Credit.

Last year council gave a total of £2m in emergency rent money to families on benefits who would otherwise have risked losing their homes – by next March that figure is set to be £3.1m.

Now the Councillor Alison Butler has written to ask the Secretary of State in charge of Universal Credit for extra money.

In her letter to MP David Gauke, Ms Butler said: "Clearing each Croydon resident’s arrears costs £800 more this year because Universal Credit has caused higher rent debts through its six-week payment delay.

"Croydon has helped 494 more customers than last year – an 84 per cent rise. Of these 494, 370 are on Universal Credit.

"From April to August this year the council made 958 extra DHP awards, up from 529 for the same period last year.

"Croydon has 1,782 residents on Universal Credit living in temporary accommodation with unpaid rent totalling over £2.5m."

In 2016-17, the Department for Work and Pensions gave £1.5m towards helping struggling Croydon families and the council topped that up with £500,000 from its own reserves. For 2017/2018, the DWP contribution rose to £1.7m, while the council’s rose to £1.4m.

Ms Butler said: “For the last three years we have had to contribute additional money to the discretionary housing payments fund and this year we have an unprecedented pressure as a direct result of the roll out of Universal Credit.

"Therefore we are requesting a further DHP funding release from Government to help us to minimise the impact on our residents.

“Without this extra DHP support, Croydon Council’s costs will continue to increase at an unsustainable rate. This would both affect the vital support we give Croydon residents at risk of homelessness and further highlight the flaws requiring urgent fixing in the Universal Credit policy.”