More than 660,000 coronavirus key workers will be stripped of £20 a week when the temporary Universal Credit rise is scrapped, analysts warn today.
Nurses, supermarket workers and social carers will be hit by the planned cut, according to a think tank.
Ministers are resisting mounting calls to extend the hike, which is worth £1,040-a-year to six million hard-up households.
The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) accused the Government of “further eroding the link between hard work and fair pay if it proceeds with the cut”.
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Its future of work programme head Alan Lockey 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 hardworking 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.”
A Government spokesman said: “Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400billion package that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap.
“We’re committed to putting more money in the pockets of hard-working families, which is why this year we provided a pay rise to two million of the UK’s lowest-paid through a higher minimum wage, while we’ll also help people earn more by levelling up opportunity.”