Debt advice

We know that some customers may have money worries and that trying to pay off debts can seem like a never ending problem.

The information on this page will also help you manage your debts. However, if you are having problems paying your rent please contact your housing office as soon as possible so we can see how we can help you. We will help you find the right solution for your situation.

Know what you owe

When dealing with the money you owe, it’s helpful to work out who owe and split your debt into two categories, priority debt and secondary debt.

Priority debt is the money that is owed because you are behind with payment of bills for some essential services. These debts may include rent debt, gas, electricity, water bills and council tax bills. These should be dealt with as a priority because they carry the most severe consequences if you do not pay.

Secondary debt is the money that is owed because it was borrowed as a loan such as a pay-day loan, as a bank overdraft, purchases with a credit card or from catalogues. Although important, these debts have less severe consequences for non-payment so should be dealt with after priority debt.

Six things to remember when dealing with debt:
• Keep in contact with the people you owe money
• Don’t ignore letters or phone calls
• Don’t be pressured into making offers of payment that you can’t afford
• Don’t borrow more money without thinking about it very carefully – you may be adding to your debts
• Don’t wait for court action, the costs will be added to the amount that you owe
• Remember there is free debt advice available - You do not have to pay for debt advice.

Plan your budget

It’s important to know how much you have to live on. Use the Money Advisory Service’s online form below to work out what money you have coming in, and what you spend it on. Be realistic about your bills. For example, when you look at your gas or electricity bills, try to average a whole year so that you cover low use (summer) and high use (winter) months. Try to use real figures taken from actual bills rather than estimates.

Once you’ve finished planning your budget, you’ll be able to print it out, email a copy to yourself or download it as a spreadsheet.

Budget Planner