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 

Rent

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

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