The government’s decision to cut universal credit (UC) poses a serious risk of increasing homelessness, a charity has warned.

St Mungo’s believes the move, which sees the £20-a-week uplift introduced during the pandemic removed from today, combined with the end of the furlough scheme and soaring energy prices will see hundreds of thousands of people struggle as we head into winter.

Analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reveals the cut risks plunging 500,000 people into poverty, including 200,000 children.

St Mungo’s says other research estimates that the cut could put more than 100,000 renters at risk of eviction, and that a coalition of youth homelessness charities has warned that it will leave vulnerable young people at risk of repeat homelessness.

The charity’s chief executive, Steve Douglas CBE, said: “We have been highlighting this as a serious risk since it was announced that this crucial support was to be ended. And, as part of the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, we again called for the uplift to be maintained, and we reiterate that. For many, this money is a vital lifeline which today is being cut.

“We know from our work of the huge impact that financial changes, which some people may consider small, can have on people who are just about making ends meet. And for many the end of this increase will be what tips them into poverty, and potentially homelessness.

“The government has expressed its desire for more people to get into work, but our research on the ‘hidden issue’ of temporary workers at risk of homelessness shows the reality that many people who are employed can still be at risk of, and experience, homelessness.

“We support and share the government’s ambition to end street homelessness but decisions such as this seem counter to that ambition and are likely to result in more people losing their homes – which nobody wants. We urge them to reconsider.”