There are some things that you need to make sure you pay every month, as the results of not paying them can be serious.
Please note, if you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland then we also have information about priority debts in Scotland and priority debts in Northern Ireland.
Some bills are classed as priorities because the consequences of not paying them are greater than the consequences of not paying others. For example, if you don’t pay your rent or your mortgage you could lose your home. These bills are your priorities and you must always pay these before your other creditors.
The table below highlights what your priority bills are, and what can happen if you don’t pay them.
|Type of debt
||Consequence of non-payment
|Mortgage or secured loan
||Losing your home
||Losing your home
||A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage, money taken from benefits, debt secured against home, bankruptcy, or imprisonment
||Money taken from wage, money taken from benefits, visit from bailiffs, or imprisonment
|Magistrates court fines
||A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage, money taken from benefits, or imprisonment
|Tax, VAT or National Insurance
||A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage, bankruptcy, or County Court judgment
|County Court judgment
||A visit from bailiffs, a charging order, money taken from wage
|Gas or electricity
||Disconnection, money taken from benefits, County Court judgment
||County Court judgment or money taken from benefits
|Hire purchase or logbook loan
||Repossession or County Court judgment
||Disconnection or County Court judgment
If you’re worried because you’ve missed payments on your priority bills please call our Helpline on 0800 138 1111 (free from all landlines and mobiles). Our expert advisors will be able to give you advice on talking to the companies and organisations, and getting your payments up to date. Or you can use our free online debt advice tool Debt Remedy.