How you deal with debt will depend on your financial circumstances and if any legal action has been taken. It is always best not to ignore the situation and try to come to some arrangement to pay. Offer an amount you can afford and then make sure you make regular payments.
Priority should be given to the following debts as not paying them could have the highest consequences;
- Council tax arrears
- Rent arrears
- Magistrate court fines
- Gas, electricity and water rates
Other debts may include credit cards, store cards, catalogues and loans.
How do I know how much to offer to pay?
- Start by writing down how much income you receive each month.
- Then do a separate list of all your household expenditure, for example, food, childcare, clothing, gas and electricity bills, transport costs, etc. At this stage you don't need to include your payments to organisations you owe money to as you need to work out how much money you have left each month to offer to them.
- You should now know how much money you have available to pay towards your debts each month.
There are many organisations that can offer you help in dealing with your debts
- National Debtline Tel 0808 808 4000 or visit their website www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
- Citizen Advice bureau Tel 0870 1202450 or visit their website www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- Leeds Citizens Info is a new web portal linking to a range of other websites offering advice at a local and national level. Advice topics include debt, employment rights, fuel poverty, benefits, disability allowances, tax credits, housing, homelessness, consumer and legal matters. Visit their website http://www.leedscitizensinfo.org/
Credit unions can also offer low cost loans and savings accounts to people on a low income or benefits. If you would like further information you can contact
- Credit unions Tel 0161 8323694 or visit their website www.abcul.coop