Hundreds of people in Slough could be at risk of falling into homelessness following the effects of the government’s housing benefits cap, according to homeless charities.

The housing benefits reduction, brought in last November, has seen 571 homes receive a benefits reduction of around £80 with 175 of those houses having their benefits reduced by over £100 a week.

The cap limits couples and people with children to a maximum of £384.62 a week and single people to £257.69 per week.

The figures, released following a freedom of information request, come at the same time as a further government announcement that people aged between 18-21 could no longer be entitled to receive housing benefits.

Mandy McGuire, founder of Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC), said the numbers and the new regulations would likely worsen the situation in Slough.

She said: “The benefits cap changes mean that more people will struggle.“In an ideal world, all these young people would be able to go and live at home with their parents, but often that isn’t the case. I predict this will only make the homeless problem worse and in Slough the housing situation is already in a simply dire state.”

The regulations have been labelled as ‘disappointing’ by homeless charity Shelter who say those affected now have a greater chance of finding themselves homeless.

Roger Harding, director of campaigns, policy and communications at Shelter, said: “We’re deeply disappointed.These cuts affect those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in desperately difficult situations.’’ Also revealed by the freedom of information request was that Slough Borough Council carried out no assessment of the impact these changes would bring.

A spokesperson for Slough Borough Council revealed that today it will announce that it has been given £760,000 by the government to help try and tackle this problem. The government has allocated the funds with the caveat that 20 per cent of it is spent on housing benefit shortfall, 40 percent is spent covering bedroom tax and 27 per cent is spent on shortfall from the benefit cap.

This fund is available to those worst affected and will be accessed at the council’s discretion.

Councillor Zaffar Ajaib (Lab, Central), Commissioner for housing, said: “There’s potential for this to have an impact on homelessness and it adds to pressure of other people being moved to our town from London.

“We have a team who meet with the DWP once a month and when the cap came in we contacted everyone affected with some advice to help them.

“We aim to add some funds to the government fund, hopefully £300,000 of our own money to help as well.

“We opened a new homeless shelter last month and we’re putting together a homeless strategy to be released in April so we can try and put our house in order and tackle this issue.”