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Priority Debt: What Debts Should I Pay First?

This debt advice applies to individuals in the UK with personal debts.

If you have so many debts to pay along with your other necessities each month, it can be difficult for you to figure out which debt should you pay first. In this guide, we will determine which of your bills are considered as a priority and non-priority debt. After reading this guide, you’ll be able to understand why your debt is classified as a priority.

Moreover, some of your debt may also be considered as a priority due to the consequences at stake when you are unable to pay for it.


Priority Debt or Bills for Residents in England or Wales

Below shows your priority bills and what can transpire if you ignore them. The outcomes can differ depending on whether you’re from England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Also, the important updates on the measures in place due to coronavirus pandemic are listed below.

COUNCIL TAX

Consequences of non-payment:

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:
Individual councils will have various ways of dealing with your council tax arrears. However, further council tax mitigation for those who have reduced bills. It is a must to contact your local councils whenever you missed payments or when you think you will have hard time meeting payments

TAX,VAT OR NATIONAL INSURANCE

Consequences of non-payment:

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

If you cannot pay because of coronavirus (COVID-19), check this guide and find out the several options in place by the HMRC.

RENT

Consequences of non-payment:

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

There’s a government protection initiative for you not to get evicted. Your landlords must issue a 3 months notice prior to eviction. You may find out more about the government support for both landlords and renters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SECURED DEBT OR MORTGAGE

Consequences of non-payment:

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Payment holidays for three months in maximum are considered but still, you need to keep in touch with your lender or creditor as they may have other alternatives for you in addition to the payment holidays that are in place.

CHILD SUPPORT OR CHILD MAINTENANCE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Bailiffs’ visit
  • Attachment of earnings (money is taken from your wage)
  • Payment can be taken from your benefits
  • Imprisonment

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

There are no special measures in place recently but you may need to contact the person and see if you can make certain arrangements your self when you are in a financial struggle. Besides, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is not chasing missed payments as of the moment. Check this GUIDE.

MAGISTRATE COURT FINES

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Bailiffs’ visit
  • Attachment of earnings (money is taken from your wage)
  • Payment can be taken from your benefits
  • Imprisonment

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

No specific standards in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if you’re asked to attend the hearing you must contact the court and comply. Check this GUIDE

COUNTY COURT JUDGMENT

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Bailiffs’ visit
  • Attachment of earnings (money is taken from your wage)
  • Charging order if you’re a homeowner(your debt is secured through your home)

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Temporary Change in Bailiff Rules due to COVID-19 Pandemic as of April 2020. During the COVID-19 or coronavirus lockdown, bailiffs are prohibited to come to your home; however, they can still reach you through a phone call or email. In fact, majority of sheriff officer firms in Scotland stops home visits during the lockdown. People are being notified either by letter or phone call. Check this GUIDE

TV LICENCE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • fine(s)

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

TV Licensing has acknowledged that any needed payments can be compensated once the circumstances go back to normal. You may refer to this ANNOUNCEMENT

GAS OR ELECTRICITY

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Payment can be taken from your benefits
  • Disconnection

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Suspension of any action that pertains to the disconnection of supplies. Most of the energy suppliers also consider measures to lessen your bill or freeze payments, ou may refer to this GUIDE for more details.

LOGBOOK LOAN OR HPA (Hire Purchase Agreement)

Consequences of non-payment:

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Credit providers are bending to spread costs for three months’ payment. You may refer to this GUIDE.

TELEPHONE

Consequences of non-payment:

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Most providers have specific measures to assist you to remain connected. Every provider will hold various considerations to help you out so you must need to contact them and find out.


Priority Debt or Bills for Residents in Scotland

Regardless of the measures in place due to COVID-19, we suggest you settle these debts as priorities because the results of non-payment can be pressing and drastic.

COUNCIL TAX

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Goods can be taken from your home
  • Payment can be taken from your wages
  • Payment can be taken from your bank account
  • Bankruptcy
  • Debts secured against your home

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Individual councils will have various ways of dealing with your council tax arrears. However, further council tax mitigation for those who have reduced bills. It is a must to contact your local councils whenever you missed payments or when you think you will have hard time meeting payments

SECURED DEBT OR MORTGAGE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Repossession

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Payment holidays for three months in maximum are considered but still, you need to keep in touch with your lender or creditor as they may have other alternatives for you in addition to the payment holidays that are in place

RENT

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Eviction

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

There’s a government protection initiative for you not to get evicted. Your landlords must issue a 3 months notice prior to eviction. You may find out more about the government support for both landlords and renters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHILD SUPPORT OR CHILD MAINTENANCE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Goods can be taken from your home
  • Payment can be taken from your wages
  • Payment can be taken from your bank account
  • Money can be taken from your benefits
  • Imprisonment

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

There are no special measures in place recently but you may need to contact the person and see if you can make certain arrangements your self when you are in a financial struggle. Besides, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is not chasing missed payments as of the moment.

CRIMINAL FINE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Payment can be taken from your wages
    Vehicle clamped or removed
  • Payment can be taken from your bank account
  • Money can be taken from your benefits
  • Imprisonment

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

There’s no current measures in place so you may have to contact us for alternatives.

TAX, VAT OR NATIONAL INSURANCE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Goods can be taken from your home
  • PAYE tax code adjusted to recover the debt
  • Payment can be taken from your bank account
  • Bankruptcy

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

If you cannot pay because of coronavirus (COVID-19), check this guide and find out the several options in place by the HMRC.

DECREE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Goods can be taken from your home
  • Debts secured against your home
  • Payment can be taken from your wages
  • Payment can be taken from your bank account

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

No special consideration in place. However, there’s a temporary Change in Bailiff Rules due to COVID-19 Pandemic as of April 2020. Majority of sheriff officer firms in Scotland stops home visits during the lockdown. People are being notified either by letter or phone call.

TV LICENCE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Criminal fine(s)

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

TV Licensing has acknowledged that any needed payments can be compensated once the circumstances go back to normal. You may refer to this ANNOUNCEMENT

GAS OR ELECTRICITY

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Payment can be taken from your benefits
  • Decree
  • Disconnection

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Most providers have specific measures to assist you to remain connected. Every provider will hold various considerations to help you out so you must need to contact them and find out.

LOGBOOK LOAN OR HPA 

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Decree
  • Repossession of goods

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Credit providers are bending to spread costs for three months’ payment. You may refer to this GUIDE.

TELEPHONE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Decree
  • Disconnection of goods

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Most providers have specific measures to assist you to remain connected. Every provider will hold various considerations to help you out so you must need to contact them and find out.


Priority Debt or Bills for Residents in Northern Ireland

SECURED DEBT OR MORTGAGE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Repossession

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Payment holidays for three months in maximum are considered but still, you need to keep in touch with your lender or creditor as they may have other alternatives for you in addition to the payment holidays that are in place

RENT

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Eviction

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

There’s a government protection initiative for you not to get evicted. Your landlords must issue a 3 months notice prior to eviction. You may find out more about the government support for both landlords and renters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHILD SUPPORT OR CHILD MAINTENANCE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Bailiffs’ visit
  • Attachment of earnings (money is taken from your wage)
  • Payment can be taken from your benefits
  • Imprisonment

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

There are no special measures in place recently but you may need to contact the person and see if you can make certain arrangements your self when you are in a financial struggle. Besides, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is not chasing missed payments as of the moment. Check this GUIDE.

CRIMINAL FINE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Payment can be taken from your wages
  • Vehicle clamped or removed
  • Payment can be taken from your bank account
  • Money can be taken from your benefits
  • Imprisonment

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

There are no current measures in place so you may have to contact us for alternatives.

TAX, VAT OR NATIONAL INSURANCE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Goods can be taken from your home
  • PAYE tax code adjusted to recover the debt
  • Payment can be taken from your bank account
  • Bankruptcy

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

If you cannot pay because of coronavirus (COVID-19), check this guide and find out the several options in place by the HMRC.

MONEY JUDGMENT

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Goods can be seized from your home
  • Debt can be secured against your home
  • Attachment of earnings
  • Payment can be taken from your bank account

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

No specific measures are taken into account in place of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Enforcement of Judgments Office (EJO) is not chasing missed payments as of the moment.

WATER

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Payment can be taken from your benefits

TV LICENCE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Criminal fine(s)

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

TV Licensing has acknowledged that any needed payments can be compensated once the circumstances go back to normal. You may refer to this GUIDE.

LOGBOOK LOAN OR HPA (Hire Purchase Agreement)

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Repossession
  • Money Judgment

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Credit providers are bending to spread costs for three months’ payment. You may refer to this Announcement.

TELEPHONE

Consequences of non-payment:

  • Decree
  • Disconnection of goods

Measures considered due to coronavirus pandemic:

Most providers have specific measures to assist you to remain connected. Every provider will hold various considerations to help you out so you must need to contact them and find out.


What to do if you can’t manage to pay your priority bills?

If you possess unprotected debt which makes it even harder to pay your priority bills, then you must get free debt advice immediately. Your unsecured debt is classified as ‘non-priority’ because the outcomes of not paying these every month are less critical than your preference debt or priority debt each month. Contact us so we can help you decide on what solutions to take without sacrificing the most essential living costs.

What can I do If I’m falling behind my payments?

You need to meet your priorities sufficiently every month. It’s also vital that you arrange to settle all priority arrears immediately.
Due to the results of not paying priority bills entirely, it can be considerably hard to conquer your debts. Besides, it may be expedient to reduce payments when you’re suffering financial crisis. However, you must consider taking to your creditor, or the agencies, or organization to which you owe your debt and make a formal arrangement. You must need to inform them about your current financial struggle and keep them posted on how you’re dealing with your debts.

It is normal for someone to be confused and undeniable of the situation. However, the more you ignore your debts, the more it can make your situation worst. If you need a debt advice, we can can offer free debt advice to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. Give us a call at 0800 193 1024.