The cost of living reached an all-time high of 5.4% in December 2021, the highest it’s been in the last 30 years.

Many items such as energy bills rose by an average of 54% in April 2022 (unless you were still on a fixed rate, in which case your bills will rise when the fix ends).  These energy prices will be going up again in October 2022, probably by about another 70%. These are known as priority debts. If not paid off on time, can lead to serious issues such as your energy and gas supply being cut off; falling behind on mortgage or rent can lead to eviction; items bought on hire purchase could be repossessed; imprisonment or hefty fines if you don’t pay your council tax, TV license, taxes or court fines.

A list of priority debts include:

  • mortgage repayments and loans secured on your home
  • rent
  • car finance and HP for furniture
  • logbook loans
  • gas and electricity bills
  • child support and maintenance payments
  • council tax
  • income tax, VAT and other tax debts
  • TV licence payments
  • Magistrates Court fines (not penalty fines such as parking)
  • certain payments ordered by the courts

Non-priority debts are those that are less serious however could still result in CCJs, bailiffs, charges over your house, bankruptcy etc so “non-priority” doesn’t mean “safe to ignore.”

Some of these types of debts include:

  • credit card debts (including store cards)
  • catalogue debts
  • unsecured bank loans (including your overdraft)
  • payday loans and doorstep lenders such as Provident
  • water bills
  • loans from friends and family

If you have this sort of “very important but not a priority debt” problem, it’s a good idea to get debt advice to help you resolve it. You should get debt advice if you are having issues with repaying any of the priority debts and bills. Some of the services that you can turn to include Money Advice Service; Debt Advisor Service; Step Change; Citizens Advice Bureau to name but a few.

You can get more tips on Debt Camel’s website here.

This article was last updated on 02 September 2022.