South Lakeland District Council handed out more than £100,000 to residents in need of extra help with housing costs last year, figures reveal.

Department for Work and Pensions data shows South Lakeland District Council paid £132,600 in Discretionary Housing Payments in 2020-21.

The cash is intended to provide those already in receipt of housing benefits with extra help such as covering rent shortfalls or the costs of moving.

It means South Lakeland District Council spent 99 per cent of the £133,426 pot given to the authority by the Government.

That allocation was a 42 per cent increase on the previous year, the figures show.

The money helped 495 claimants across South Lakeland in 2020-21 – 119 more than the year before.

Across England and Wales, councils spent £171 million on Discretionary Housing Payments, with 103 of 327 local authorities spending above the Government’s contribution despite a £40 million increase in funding on the previous year.

The Government said it has taken unprecedented action to protect renters during the pandemic, including banning evictions and increasing the local housing allowance rates, used to calculate housing benefits.