Check If You Qualify

What are priority debts and how should I handle them?

Sharon McDougall - Updated - 14th May 2024 - 3 minutes to read

When you are experiencing financial trouble, however temporary, it is important to divide your debts into priority and non-priority payments. Priority debts include mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, council tax, and arrears of tax or National Insurance contributions.

Other debts regarded as non-priority include credit and store card payments, as well as overdrafts and loans. Although still important, non-payment of this type of debt will not directly affect your standard of living.

So how do you get organised with regard to your debts, and what is the best approach to take when contacting creditors?

How can I organise priority debts?

You need to work out how much you owe to each creditor by looking at demands for payment, and the original agreements if you have them. Before contacting creditors individually, you’ll need to know their name and address, plus your account or reference number.

Most organisations prefer to be contacted if their customers are struggling to keep up repayments, and may be willing to negotiate more time to repay, or even reduce the monthly amount for a fixed period to give you breathing space. You can also request a little more time to calculate how much you can afford to pay.

Make contact with your priority creditors by phone initially, as this will speed up any new repayment arrangements. You should keep a written note of the date and time of each phone call, and the name of the person you speak to. You may need to refer to it if a new payment arrangement is later questioned.

It is also advisable to write to each creditor confirming what was discussed, and the outcome agreed, keeping copies of all correspondence in a safe place. Let creditors know if you are experiencing any short-term issues that affect your ability to make repayments – if injury or illness has made you temporarily unable to work, for example.

Scotland Debt Calculator

Get a rough indication of what your repayments might be under each of our different debt solutions.

Your Total Debt

£0 - £5,000

£5,000 - £10,000

£10,000 - £20,000

£20,000+

Your Employment Status

I am employed

I am self-employed

I am unemployed

I am a student

I am retired

Your Total Monthly Income

£0 - £1,000

£1,000 - £2,000

£2,000 - £3,000

£3,000+

What can you pay monthly towards your debt?

£0 - £100

£100 - £200

£200 - £300

£300+

How should I formulate a budget?

To substantiate any offers you make to priority creditors, it is a good idea to include a budget sheet when you write to them. This will indicate your seriousness about repaying the debt, even if it is only by a small amount initially.

Budgeting does take a little time, but once done it can help you recover quickly from financial difficulties. Should you need to take professional financial advice, having a budget sheet will also help your Money Advisor to understand your situation, and be able to offer the most appropriate solutions.

How can I handle priority debts?

Mortgage or rent

These are the debts that should take top priority, as if they remain unaddressed you may lose your home. By repaying arrears at an agreed rate, in addition to the usual monthly amount, you’ll be able to spread the cost over a longer period of time rather than having to make a lump sum payment.

If you are in receipt of benefits, you may be able to repay your mortgage or rental debt directly from these.

Gas and electricity

Falling too far behind with your energy bills could result in your provider insisting that a pre-payment meter is installed. If you contact them as soon as possible, however, they may agree to a revised payment plan that covers your debt at an affordable rate or over a longer period of time.

Don’t be tempted to pay too much each month though, as you need to make sure that no more payments are missed.

Council tax

Local authorities often agree to spread arrears over the remainder of the year, on top of the regular payment, or even add it to the following year’s liability which would give you valuable time to improve your financial position.

Good communication with creditors is key to successfully negotiating your way out of trouble, and can make a big difference when trying to keep repayments affordable. Most companies appreciate being kept up-to-date by customers when accounts fall behind, and are more likely to react favourably if you let them know why you are experiencing these financial difficulties.

Scotland Debt Solutions helps Scottish residents to deal with debt by providing professional advice. Call our expert team to arrange a free initial consultation.

facebook colour icon twitter colour icon linkedin colour icon messenger colour icon whatsapp colour icon email colour icon
Sharon McDougall Square

Sharon McDougall

Manager

Other Articles

Can I borrow money whilst I’m in a Trust Deed? Can I Borrow Money

Can I borrow money whilst I’m in a Trust Deed?

Borrowing money when you’re already deeply in debt requires careful consideration, and consultation with your trustee, as there are various factors associated with further borrowing in this situatio...

Your guide to getting a mortgage after a Trust Deed Guide to get a mortgage

Your guide to getting a mortgage after a Trust Deed

If you’re about to be discharged from a Trust Deed, you may be wondering to what extent your ability to obtain a mortgage has been affected.

What is an inhibition court order in Scotland? Court Order

What is an inhibition court order in Scotland?

If you’ve lost your job, state benefits and tax credits can provide vital financial support to see you through this tough time and help you avoid taking on too much debt while you look for more work...

About

Why Choose Us

Usp Discussion

Speak Direct With

A Qualified Adviser

Headset

We Don't Operate

Call Centres

Usp Location

5 Offices in Scotland

National Coverage

Usp House

Ask us About

Home Visits

Usp Award

Fully Regulated Advisors

From a Reputable Firm

Usp Hand Heart

Helping Scots Get

Out of Debt Since 1989

We'll give you a call

Our Scottish based team can help advise you on your debt problems.

Here at Scotland Debt Solutions we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to contact you with regards to your enquiry. We will not use your information for marketing purposes. See our Privacy Policy.

Tools

Useful Tools

Personalised Debt Report
Usp Planner

Personalised Debt Report

Our personalised debt report will help you better understand your financial position and see where your money is going.

Debt Report
Instant Scheduled Call & WhatsApp
Headset

Instant Scheduled Call & WhatsApp

Arrange a call with an expert advisor at a time to suit you or contact our team via WhatsApp for immediate help and advice.

Arrange Callback
Find a Local Office
Usp Signpost

Find a Local Office

We have five offices located across Scotland. Find your nearest one here.

Find an Office

OUR SERVICES

We can help you with...

Sequestration

Sequestration

Sequestration is the Scottish version of bankruptcy and may be suitable for you if you do not have the money to pay back your debts

Find out More
Trust Deeds in Scotland

Trust Deeds in Scotland

A Trust Deed involves making a monthly contribution to your debts for up to four years. After this time any remaining debt included in the Trust Deed will not need to be paid.

Find out More
Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) lets you pay off your debt through a series of manageable instalments over a reasonable length of time.

Find out More
Business Debts
Icon Briefcase

Business Debts

Whether you are a sole trader or a limited company director, we can help you work through your current financial problems including money owed to HMRC

Business Debts

Our Insolvency Practitioners are regulated by ICAS or the IPA and our firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Fees and Information: There are fees associated with our services. These will be fully explained before entering into any of the personal debt solutions referred to on this website. Full details of our fees and how these are charged are fully explained to you prior to you committing to any particular service.

ICAS Insolvency Practitioners