GLASGOW'S poorest communities are the hardest hit in Scotland by welfare reforms, according to new research.

A study found more than half the council wards in Glasgow were in the 20 most affected of Scotland's 353 wards.

Twelve city areas were in the worst 20 for the amount of cash lost per adult of working age as a result of UK Government welfare cuts.

Calton in the east end was the worst hit with a loss of £880 per person per year.

Springburn, North East, Drumchapel/Anniesland and Southside Central wards make up the worst five with another seven featuring in the 20 worst.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee, which commissioned the research by Sheffield Hallam University, said it confirmed what their evidence sessions had proved to them.

It found Glasgow would lose more than £250m a year as a result of the reforms once all take effect, second in the UK behind Birmingham.

Committee Convener Michael McMahon said: "Evidence that we have received indicated that our poorest communities are being hit hardest by welfare reform but we had no statistics to back this up.

"From the witnesses that have come before us, we have always known that welfare reform is having a disastrous effect on individuals. Now it looks as if this is true for whole communities in Glasgow."

St Andrews in Fife was the least affected in Scotland with just £180 lost while the lowest in Glasgow is Anderston/City with £380 per person, while 17 of the 21 Glasgow wards lost more than £500 per person.

The study looked at the impact of housing benefit changes, but not the bedroom tax which has been fully mitigated this year by the Scottish Government.

It also takes account of the household benefit cap, changes to Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit, the three year Child Benefit freeze and its removal from higher income families and the reduction in tax credit payments.

Steve Fothergill, who produced the research, will speak to MSPs tomorrow. He said: "Scotland has not been singled out as the prime target for welfare reform.

"But as in the rest of Britain, the cumulative effect of the reforms is not only to hit some of the poorest individuals hardest but also to hit the poorest communities much harder."