3. What are priority debts
The consequences of not paying off some debts before others can be serious.
Use the Money Advice Service Debt Health Check to help you prioritise your debts and work out a plan to tackle your money problems.
So if you’re struggling to make your repayments on time, you need to look at all of your debts and split them into:
- debt emergencies
- priority debts
- non priority debts
Priority debts are those that carry the most serious consequences if you don't pay them.
These don't have to be the largest or debts with the most expensive interest rates, but if you don't pay them it could lead to serious problems.
Priority debts include:
|Type of Priority Debt||Consequences of non-payment|
|Mortgage or secured loan||Eviction/Homelessness|
|Council tax||A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage or benefit, debt secured against your home, bankruptcy, imprisonment|
|Child maintenance||Money taken from wage or benefits, visit from bailiffs, imprisonment|
|Magistrates Court Fine||Money taken from wage or benefits, visit from bailiffs, imprisonment|
|Tax, VAT or National Insurance||A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage or benefit, bankruptcy, County Court Judgement|
|County Court Judgement||A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage or benefit, a charging order|
|Gas or electricity||Disconnection, money taken from benefits|
|TV Licence||Substantial fine and court costs|