HAMPSHIRE is in the grip of a low pay crisis, new figures show – with an explosion in the number of working people surviving on housing benefit.

The number of claimants in the city who have jobs has leapt since the last General Election, according to official statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions.

In Southampton those numbers are up by 62 per cent, in the New Forest they are up by 35 per cent and in Eastleigh there has been a 63 per cent increase.

But the biggest leap was in Fareham where the figures went through the roof, up a staggering 883 per cent over three years.

The figures show that the total number of housing benefit claimants has crept up in Southampton since May 2010 – to 23,758 in November last year.

But that masks the huge rise in the number who are in work, which has soared from 3,516 to 5,687, an increase of 62 per cent.

The problem is growing even faster than across the country as a whole, which recorded a rise of 59 per cent between May 2010 and last November.

Across the county, there are 20,626 people working, but on housing benefit, after similar leaps in Eastleigh (up 63 per cent), Test Valley (52 per cent) and Winchester (53 per cent).

In Fareham, there were just 113 such claimants in May 2010 – but that figure increased nine-fold, to 1,111.