One private landlord in North Ayrshire raked in at least £372,000 in public money in 2017/18.

However, the total amount could be substantially higher if they also received ‘indirect’ local housing allowance payments from their tenants.

In total, £28 million of local housing allowance was paid to private landlords in North Ayrshire during 2017/18.

Of that, £9.5million was paid directly to landlords in 2017/18 with 166 private landlords receiving in excess of £10,000 in direct payments with many potentially receiving more indirectly via tenants.

The figures were revealed by Councillor Joe Cullinane in the week that new analysis showed that 50,000 children in Scotland whose family stay in private rented accommodation are living in poverty.

Councillor Cullinane says these figures show the “need to radically change our housing system”.

“People will rightly be shocked that one private landlord in North Ayrshire raked in a minimum of £372,000 in public money in one year alone. This is level of personal wealth collection, derived from what is a basic human need, is simply grotesque when we see the impact of poverty, debt and deprivation.

“These figures show that we need to radically change our housing system in this country so that it works for the many.

“North Ayrshire Labour have the most ambitious council house building programme in the country with over 523 new council houses either starting construction or being completed in this financial year alone.

"Over the next five years more than 1700 new social houses will be built across North Ayrshire, the largest increase in social housing stock for generations.

“However, these figures show that in addition to investing in a new generation of council housing we must reform the private rented sector so it works for the many, not just the few richest private landlords who are generating more and more wealth from it."