Debt and the pandemic



The Equality and Social Justice Committee undertook a short inquiry into the impact of the pandemic on levels of indebtedness, with a particular focus on personal, household and consumer debt.


Terms of reference

The terms of reference were to examine:

  • The effectiveness of the Welsh Government’s overall approach to tackling debt-related issues during the pandemic, and to consider how its policy might need to develop over the coming months to address upcoming challenges.
  • The impact of individual debt on public services during the pandemic and beyond, and to explore whether changes could be made to the approaches that public bodies are taking to debt recovery.
  • The impact of the pandemic on take-up of debt advice services, and to understand the implications of future demand for Welsh Government policy.
  • How different groups have experienced debt issues throughout the pandemic, and whether Welsh Government policy interventions have met the needs of particular groups.
  • The effectiveness of mechanisms such as the Discretionary Assistance Fund and affordable credit in providing assistance to those most in need during the pandemic, and what changes could improve future delivery.


Evidence gathering


The Committee has finished taking evidence. More information can be found under the meetings tab at the top of the page.


Additional written evidence has been received from Shelter Cymru (PDF, 559KB) Chwarae Teg (PDF, 332KB)  and Community Housing Cymru (PDF, 192KB).




The Committee laid its report “Debt and the pandemic”(PDF, 1545KB) on Monday 15 November. Following publication, Chair of the Committee, Jenny Rathbone MS, stated:


“We face a winter of rising fuel and food prices, coupled with the end of some key government support which did so much to keep people afloat during the pandemic. It’s clear that households across the country are only now beginning to feel the full financial force of the pandemic.”


The Welsh Government responded (PDF, 405KB) to the report on 6 January 2022. The report and government response was debated during Plenary on 12 January 2022.


The Committee will continue to monitor this issue throughout the Sixth Senedd.


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Description automatically generated

Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

Status: Complete

First published: 23/09/2021