Young people in Greenwich receiving Universal Credit face one of the largest shortfalls in the country between their housing benefits and average rent prices, due to the Government's "illogical and confusing" Universal Credit system.

New analysis shows that housing benefit payments for young Universal Credit recipients in Greenwich cover just 59% of the average price of renting one room in the borough.

The new stats have led to leading charities calling on the Government to rethink the current system, which they say 'defies logic', leaving vulnerable young people, including care leavers, trapped in homeless hostels.

Universal Credit uses the Local Housing Allowance to calculate how much housing benefit claimants are entitled to, with rates based on the private rental market in the local area and set at the same level for all.

Under the system, most single people aged under 35 are only entitled to a set amount to help towards the cost of a room in a shared house - known as the Shared Accommodation Rate, the lowest LHA band.

But analysis of the latest rental market figures from the Office for National Statistics by youth homelessness charity Centrepoint shows there is just one local authority area in England (Rother) where the rate actually covers the average cost of a shared room.

Young people face a shortfall in the remaining 232 council areas - in 166 authorities, it is £100 a month or more. That is after a rise of 1.7% scheduled for April is taken into account.

Thurrock recipients are the worst off, with the £298 shared accommodation rate covering just 44% of the £673 average rent.

But Greenwich makes the top (worst) ten, with young Universal Credit recipients receiving £384 towards the average price of renting a single room of £655, leaving a 41% shortfall.

Greenwich Council has been highly critical of universal credit in the past, with leader Danny Thorpe previously stating it should be called 'Universal Debit'.

Last year it said that UC was having a "devastating" affect on vulnerable people in the borough, and the council leader will be meeting with affected residents in the near future.

Responding to the latest statistics, Mr Thorpe said: "Universal Credit has had a terrible impact on the welfare system and continues to negatively affect the lives of those on the lowest incomes living in Royal Greenwich.

"We’re doing what we can to help residents and this month we announced that we are increasing support with Council Tax for working-age claimants from 85% to 100%, which will benefit thousands of residents from April 2020."

Sam Royston, director of policy and research at The Children's Society, said the "illogical and confusing" system leaves young care leavers facing a financial cliff edge on their 22nd birthday.

Centrepoint, the youth homelessness charity behind the new analysis, said prices may have increased since September, when the ONS figures for the previous 12 months were published, leaving young people in an even worse position.

Chief executive Seyi Obakin said it "defies logic" that under-25s are not entitled to greater help with their housing costs, regardless of their vulnerability.

"The current system means that many young people are ready to move on from care or a homelessness hostel but can't," he added.

"The negative impact this has on young people, and the bed-blocking it creates, is simply unsustainable."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said about 900,000 people would see their benefit rise by an average of £10 in April, adding that the government spends around £23bn a year helping people with their housing costs.