£100 one-off payment is welcome but won’t be enough to address the predicted “tsunami” of debt

Published 16/11/2021   |   Last Updated 16/11/2021   |   Reading Time minutes

The Chair of the Senedd’s Equality and Social Justice Committee has welcomed today’s Welsh Government announcement (16 November) that households receiving universal credit and other working-age benefits are to be given a one-off £100 payment to help with fuel bills.

The Committee Chair, Jenny Rathbone MS, welcomes the extra support, which more than doubles the £25 million the Welsh Government received in compensation for the UK Government’s £500 million cut in Universal Credit implemented last month,  but a one-off payment will not be enough on its own to address the rising costs of living for low income families.

Jenny Rathbone

Jenny Rathbone MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Equality and Social Justice Committee says; 

“We welcome the Welsh Government initiative , and recognise that an extra £100 to help with energy bills this winter will make a big difference to households already struggling to meet basic households costs. However, based on the evidence presented in our Debt and the Pandemic report, it’s unlikely  that a one-off payment will be sufficient to address the crisis facing so many people. 

“Giving evidence to the inquiry, witnesses used words such as “tsunami” and “perfect storm” to describe the rising costs of living which will drive people into deeper poverty this winter.

“We urge Welsh Government to act on the Committee’s recommendations; to continue supporting households forced into debt to meet the most basic of living costs and to accelerate measures to tackle the causes of fuel poverty such as retro-fitting homes to meet higher energy saving standards. The Committee will continue to scrutinise the government’s response to this crisis and will examine issues around fuel poverty in more detail over the coming months. 

“We look forward to receiving the government’s response to our recommendations, and for the opportunity to debate the issues in the Senedd in due course.”

The Committee’s report, Debt and the Pandemic, was published on Monday 15 November and its recommendations will now be considered by Welsh Government.

The report Debt and the Pandemic is available here and you can read more about it on the Media release which is available here