As many as 1.5 million workers could be forced into financial hardship this winter as a result of Universal Credit cuts, Citizens Advice has warned.

New research into the “disastrous decision” to withdraw the £20 per week uplift suggested that two-thirds of working claimants are bracing themselves to face hardship when the uplift is abolished at the end of the month.

Fears include struggling to pay their bills, getting into debt or being forced to sell belongings to make up for the shortfall in their income.

Research published by the organisation on Thursday found that as many as 600,000 working Universal Credit claimants are worried they might not be able to afford food or other basic necessities like toiletries after the reduction in their income is introduced.

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch reiterated in the Commons on Wednesday that the uplift had been a “temporary” measure, despite her colleague Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng admitting this week it could be a “very difficult winter” for some families.

Citizens Advice issue warning over Universal Credit cut

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “With energy bills set to rise and family finances already stretched to the limit, this cut is coming at the worst possible time.

“Shop workers, nursery assistants and security guards are just some of the people on Universal Credit seeking our help because they’re already struggling to make ends meet.

“The Government has shown in this pandemic that it’s willing to support people through hard times.

“With a cost of living crisis under way, it must reverse the disastrous decision to cut this lifeline.”

Figures from the organisation said that around 2.3 million Universal Credit claimants are already in work, with a further 1.7 million unable to work due to health or caring responsibilities.

The research findings are based on ICM Unlimited polling for Citizens Advice using a sample of 2,183 adults receiving Universal Credit. The fieldwork was conducted between July 15 and August 2.