More than 1,000 north-east families are feeling the “devastating” impacts of austerity, a senior politician has said after new figures were published.
The UK Government introduced the benefit cap in 2013, limiting annual benefits per household to £26,000.
New statistics show 773 Aberdeen households and 284 in Aberdeenshire are now receiving less in benefits due to the cap – as are 138 households in Angus and 83 in Moray.
Ten city families have seen their benefits docked by up to £350 a week, meaning they have lost up to £18,200 a year each – or up to £107,100 each since the changes came in under the leadership of then-Prime Minister David Cameron.
The figures show 25 city families affected by the cuts have five or more children – along with 26 in Aberdeenshire, 29 in Angus and 23 in Moray.
Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said: “This benefit cap is taking money out of the pockets of families here in Aberdeen and across Scotland.
“Tory austerity is having a devastating impact on low-income families.”
Mr Stewart said one of the most common reasons constituents ask for his help is benefit problems.
He added: “I see the impact of Tory benefit cuts on a daily basis in my constituency.
“Our welfare system is meant to be a safety net to help those most in need. Instead the Tories punish the poorest in society, taking money from families who are already struggling to get by.”
Separate figures published in September show Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Moray councils were predicted to give a total of £2.5 million of discretionary housing payments in the 12 months up to this April in a bid to soften the blow of the cuts. This is money the Scottish Government gives to local authorities.
Mr Stewart said: “With our limited powers in Scotland, the SNP in government are determined to build a social security system built on dignity and respect.
“It’s time the Scottish Parliament is handed the powers needed to create a fairer Scotland that’s ready to tackle the causes of inequality.”
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The Department for Work and Pensions figures show 404 city families have lost out on up to £50 a week due to the cap, while 255 are between £50 and £100 short, 61 are between £100 and £150 short, 11 are between £150 and £200 short, 13 are between £200 and £250 short, 11 are between £250 to £300 short and 10 are between £300 and £350 short.
Of the single parents impacted by the cap, 198 live in the city, 175 in Aberdeenshire, 82 in Angus and 60 in Moray.
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions, which is led by Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, disputed Mr Stewart’s assertion that the benefit cap was negative, claiming the system encourages people into employment.
“The benefit cap incentivises work, including part-time opportunities, as anyone eligible who moves into work and earns over a certain amount becomes exempt from the cap,” said the spokesman.
He added: “More than 55,000 households across the UK have either moved off the cap from housing benefit or universal credit by being exempt due to starting a job or increasing their hours or earnings.
“At least 190,000 more children are living in a household that moved into work and off the benefit cap.”