More than 2.7 million working families will be hit by Tory cuts to vital tax credits, according to new research published today.
An analysis of official Government figures by the union Unison, found that two in five of all working households with children will lose as much as £3,000 a year from next April.
This is equivalent to the entire population of Greater Manchester, which will host the Conservative Party conference this coming week.
However, the Daily Mirror has reported today that the true number of affected households could be greater than three million.
There are currently around 5.2 million children living in households in receipt of tax credits, equivalent to the entire population of Scotland.
Chancellor George Osborne announced changes to in-work tax credits in July, which will see the earnings threshold at which tax credit awards begin to be reduced lowered from £6,420 a year to just £3,850.
Child Tax Credits will also be limited to no more than two children for new applicants, and the speed at which tax credits are taken away will be increased.
Labour MP Frank Field has written to George Osborne, describing the changes as “the biggest ever single cut” to hit low-income families.
“Tory MPs will be under siege from their constituents” when they discover the Chancellor “intends to cut their wage packets on average by £1,350 a year”, he says.
According to Unison, London has the highest number of working families who will affected by the changes, followed by families living in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.
The figures also show that whilst very few households in more affluent areas will be affected, families living in the most deprived areas of the UK will be hit the hardest.
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “Many of the millions of families who will be the victims of the Chancellor’s cruel tax credits snatch and grab still have no idea that they are going to lose out next year.
“When they start receiving letters in the post from HMRC just before Christmas, it will mean chaos for family finances.
“Tax credits are a lifeline for these families – quite simply they are the difference between them keeping their heads above water and going under.
“The huge loss of income – of between £1,000-£3,000 a year – will have a devastating impact upon the millions of family budgets that have yet to recover from the living standards crisis.
“Parents, who will go without in a vain attempt to make sure their children don’t, will be forced deeper into debt.
He added: “The government is full of praise for people who go out to work to try and provide better lives for their children. Yet these are the very people these punitive changes will hurt.
“It’s time for the Chancellor to admit that he’s got this one very wrong, and back down before it’s too late.”
Unison has developed an online calculator where people can find out how tax credit cuts will affect them.