More than 660,000 key workers including nurses, supermarket staff and social cares will be hit with a deduction in finances when the Universal Credit uplift ends in the autumn, new figures suggest.

Millions of people will be affected when the uplift is scrapped in what a union leader has described as a “bleak day”.

On September 30 this year, millions will see their £20-a-week increase in Universal Credit end.

The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) said its research shows that London, the South East and the North West have the highest numbers of key workers on Universal Credit.

Alan Lockey, head of the RSA’s future of work programme said the large number of key workers receiving Universal Credit is symptomatic of issues with in-work poverty.

He said: “The link between hard work and fair pay is broken, and this cut will only make it worse.

“In the short term, the Government needs to protect this vital lifeline for millions of hard-working Brits, especially our pandemic heroes working as nurses, social carers and supermarket assistants.

“In the long term, the Government needs to make work pay, expanding the use of the living wage, tackling insecure work, and making benefits such as sick pay more generous and universal.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “It is shameful that the very workers who got us through this crisis are in the firing line when it comes to poor pay and cuts to Universal Credit.

“This £1,000-a-year cut to millions of hard-working families is economically and morally wrong.

“The Government must see sense, back struggling families, and cancel their cut to Universal Credit. Labour would replace Universal Credit with a fairer social security system.”

Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the Unite union, said: “The determination to rob the poorest workers and families of £20 a week is heartless and economically irresponsible.

“The majority of those on Universal Credit are in work but earning too little to get by because poverty pay has exploded under a decade of Conservative rule.

“Food and living costs are rising and the chaotic bungling of the reopening of the economy means we cannot be assured of a return to any so-called normal. That £20 is a lifeline during this continuing uncertainty and removing it will cause certain despair.

“September 30 is set to be a bleak day for workers and our communities with the cut and the end of furlough.

“It will go down as the day that this Tory Government threw hundreds of thousands of working and vulnerable people and children under the bus.”

Universal Credit Eligibility

You might be able to claim Universal Credit if:

  • You’re out of work or on a low income
  • You’re aged 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 or 17)
  • You or your partner are under state pension age
  • You and your partner have less than £16,000 in savings
  • You live in the UK

If you think you're entitled, you can apply for Universal Credit online via the website.

How much Universal Credit you can claim

  • For those single and aged under 25, the standard allowance is £344
  • For those single and aged 25 or over, the standard allowance is £411.51
  • For joint claimants both under 25, the standard allowance is £490.60
  • For joint claimants where one or both are 25 or over, the standard allowance is £596.58