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Stage 3 - Which of my debts are priority?

Identify your most important debts.

Priority debts

If priority debts are not paid, you could, for example, lose your home, fuel or liberty.
Priority debts include:
  • mortgage arrears
  • second mortgages/secured loans
  • ground rent/service charges
  • rent arrears
  • Council Tax
  • gas and electricity bills
  • TV licence
  • Magistrates’ Court fines
  • parking penalties
  • Income Tax and VAT arrears
  • child maintenance
  • Social Fund loans
  • Benefit overpayments
  • Tax Credit overpayments
  • hire purchase or conditional sale agreements for essential items.
​You will always be given a warning before any action and will have the chance to respond. Do so as soon as you can. You will usually be able to stop the loss of your home or other essentials.
We explain later how to deal with priority debts. First read how to draw up your financial statement (budget plan).

Non-priority debts

Non-priority creditors do not have the strong powers of priority creditors. A non-priority creditor must get a county court judgment before they can take any further legal action against you.
Non-priority debts include:
  • credit cards
  • store cards
  • charge cards
  • mail order catalogues
  • money lenders
  • water arrears
  • unsecured bank loans
  • unsecured overdrafts.
We explain later how to deal with non-priority debts. First read how to draw up your financial statement and how to deal with any priority debts you have.
To go to the next stage, visit Stage 4: How do I draw up a financial statement?
If you are sorting out debt problems, start at the beginning of this guidance, otherwise you may miss valuable information.
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