Debt advice

In debt and need advice?

The following organisations may be able to help you to:

  • Identify the most important debts and take action accordingly. The law gives different creditors different ways of getting their money back
  • Help plan your weekly and monthly budget
  • Draw up a financial statement by looking at your income and outgoings
  • Help you to decide on a plan to deal with your debts
  • Negotiate with the people you owe money to
  • Advise you on court procedures and help reply to court documents

Money Advice Service

Want to make the most of your money? It’s easier than you think. Answer some straightforward questions about you and your money and our free confidential health check (external link) will set out what you can do in easy steps. It takes just 5-10 minutes, doesn't involve any paperwork and your answers are confidential.

If you are a council tenant in rent arrears you should contact your local housing office.

If you are unable to do this yourself, adult services may be able to help. Please call our main switchboard on 020 8489 1000.

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Types of debt

All debts are important, but some are more pressing than others. The following list shows what may happen if priority debts are not dealt with:

  • Mortgage - repossession of your home; eviction
  • Second mortgage/secured loan - repossession of your home; eviction
  • Rent - eviction
  • Council tax - seizure of goods by bailiffs (distraint); deductions from wages/benefits
  • Water rates - supply disconnected
  • Gas/electricity - supply disconnected
  • Unpaid Magistrates Court fine - seizure of goods by bailiffs (distraint); deductions from wages/benefit); imprisonment
  • Unpaid maintenance/child support - seizure of goods by bailiffs (distraint); deductions from wages/benefit; imprisonment
  • Income tax/VAT/National Insurance - seizure of goods by bailiffs (distraint); bankruptcy
  • Telephone - disconnection
  • Hire purchase (not normal credit) - repossession of HP goods
  • Unsecured credit card debts - County Court judgement; impaired credit rating

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Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a new scheme that gives applicants time to take steps towards managing their debt by:

  • temporarily halting enforcement action from creditors
  • freezing interest and fees for a set period

Find out more: Debt Respite Scheme - Breathing Space

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Page last updated:

4 May 2021