HUNDREDS of workers in Windsor and Maidenhead are claiming Universal Credit as their low wages are not enough to live on.

Charities say that the 'shocking' number of in-work applicants is due to low wages and housing costs.

According to Department for Work and Pensions figures, there were 242 employed claimants in Windsor and Maidenhead on Universal Credit in July 2018 - about 38 per cent of the total.

Overall, there were 632 people on Universal Credit in Windsor and Maidenhead, 158 more than in the previous month.

Universal Credit is a controversial new benefit, designed to simplify the benefits system. But problems with its introduction have reportedly forced benefit claimants into hardship and its full introduction has been endlessly delayed.

Pritie Billimoria, from Turn2us, a charity which helps people who are struggling financially said it was 'shocking' that such a high number of workers earn so little that they are forced to rely on benefits.

She said: “Every day we hear from working people who are living hand to mouth and facing impossible decisions about whether to buy food or pay their rent.

“We know that the rise of in-work poverty and in-work claimants is complicated. Households are dealing with low pay, the rising cost of living and changes to welfare support, which are all having a compounding effect on the daily lives of families across the UK.

“Work needs to be a route out of poverty so people are not left dealing with the intolerable stress and anxiety that their wages don’t cover their basic costs of living.”

Katie Schmuecker, head of policy for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent social policy charity, said: “Low pay and high costs for housing and other essentials mean that for many, work is not providing enough to live on and the social security system needs to provide an anchor against being swept into poverty."