Debt Advice

Priority and Non-Priority Debts
Priority Debts

Non-Priority Debts

Rent and Rent Arrears

Council Tax





Income Tax


National Insurance

Hire Purchase (in certain circumstances)

Telephone (in certain circumstances)

Bank Accounts

Credit Cards

Store Cards

Catalogue Companies

Unsecured Loans


Loans from Family or Friends

Priority Debts

Priority debts have serious consequences if not paid. They should be dealt with before non-priority debts. Rent is a priority debt and should be paid first

Consequences of not paying a priority debt can include:

  • the loss of your home due to rent arrears
  • having your gas or electricity supply cut off (or having an expensive pre-payment meter put in)
  • you could go to prison if you don't pay your council tax or TV Licence
Non - Priority Debts

Non - priority debts usually have less serious consequences. However, the people you owe money to could sue you for money owing, resulting in a County Court Judgement


Why do people get into debt?

There are many reasons why people fall into debt. These include:

  • Redundacy
  • Loss of job for other reasons
  • Sickness
  • Relationship problems
  • Running out of savings
  • Loss of partners
  • New baby
  • Moving house
  • Increasing bills
  • Unexpected expenditure
  • Repairs for house, car etc.
  • Uninsured loss
How to Deal With Debt:
First step
  • Don’t ignore the problem, debt will not go away and the longer you leave it the worse it gets.
  • If you have lost your job or are off work because of illness check to ensure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. Also Check whether your payments are covered by payment protection insurance.
  • Don’t borrow money to pay off your debts without thinking carefully and get advice first. Borrowing could lead to you getting further into debt.


Second step
  • Work out your personal budget.
  • Creditors will want to see a copy when you inform them of your difficulties.
  • Work out a reasonable offer, if you can only afford a small amount then don’t worry, creditors prefer you to pay regularly rather than make an offer you cannot afford
  • Make sure you tackle your priority debts first, for example, debts which could mean losing your home (Rent and Council Tax) or having your gas or electricity supply cut off
  • Contact everyone you owe money to and explain your situation
  • Don’t give up trying to reach an agreement, even if creditors are difficult.


Third step
  • If a creditor has taken court action against you then fill in the defence documents provided by the court. This information will be used to decide if you owe the money and what instalments you should pay.
  • Always attend court hearings and take a copy of your financial statement with you.
  • Don’t think that going to County Court makes you a criminal.
  • Always keep copies of any letters or forms you send and receive.
  • If you consider borrowing money, it’s important to make sure you will be able to keep up the repayments, otherwise you could be taken to court and might lose your home or other valuable possessions
  • Research the different ways to borow money, how to borrow sensibly and how to avoid some of the pitfalls of borrowing which can lead to problems with debt. Using the links at the bottom of this page can help


Seeking Debt Advice

For free debt advice, the following services may be able to help:

Rosebery’s Tenancy Sustainment Officers

Telephone: 01372 814 000


Citizens Advice local contact numbers

Epsom & Ewell: 0300 330 1164

Reigate & Banstead: 0844 411 1444

Guildford: 01483 576699

Tandridge: 01883 344777

Crawley: 0844 477 1171

Runnymede: 01932 827187

Or visit the main CAB website



Parashoot will visit you in your own home. To speak with a member of Parashoot, let us know on 01372 814 000 and we will arrange for them to contact you


Christians Against Poverty (CAP)

CAP can carry out visits in your own home. Call them free on 0800 328 0006 or from a mobile on 01274 760 839. For more information visit CAP


National Debtline:        

Telephone: 0808 808 4000


Stepchange Debt Charity:

Telephone: 0800 138 1111



Telephone: 0800 280 2816/0207 760 8980

WARNING: Think carefully before becoming involved with Debt Management Companies who charge for their services