Some bills are classed as priorities because the consequences of not paying them are greater than the consequences of not paying others. Priorities, the ones that you should pay first, include government debts, such as Council Tax, as well as your rent or mortgage, including arrears.
What are priority debts and bills?
Priority payments are the ones that could leave you homeless, without essential services, or where the creditor has extra powers to enforce the debt.
For example, if you don’t pay your rent or your mortgage you could lose your home.
If you fall behind with some payments, bailiffs or Sheriff officers can visit you and take goods from your home. There are some debts that can be collected by money being taken directly from your wages or benefits.
Some creditors can apply to make you bankrupt. In extreme cases, you can be sent to prison for failing to pay some debts.
The tables below highlight what your priority bills are, and what can happen if you don’t pay them. The consequences can vary depending on whether you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. You must always pay these first before your other debts.
Which bills to pay first