Over 400,000 more families with children started claiming universal credit since the start of the pandemic, a charity has said.
Save the Children warned that without urgent government action to protect struggling families, the country will see a steep rise in child poverty.
It is calling for a £20-a-week increase to the child element of universal credit and child tax credit to protect children from the long-term impacts of coronavirus.
Kayte Lawton, head of partnerships and impact at Save the Children, said: 'Even before the crisis, our country’s safety net was failing too many children. Now there is a danger that even more families will fall through the net – and it is children who will pay the price, possibly for the rest of their lives.
'Providing an urgent, £20-a-week boost to the child element of universal credit and child tax credit could help millions of families make ends meet, and protect a generation of children from being held back in the years to come.'
Figures show that 5.5 million people are now claiming universal credit.