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Some debts are more important than others because the law gives different creditors different ways of getting their money back. The debts that should be treated as a priority are listed below. These should be dealt with before any other debts. It is important that you know exactly how much you owe to each creditor, so if you don't know how much you owe then either ring and ask them or write using 'sample letter 1' (holding letter) in this pack to help you. Always keep copies of any letters you send.
Your mortgage or rent must be your main priority you don't want to lose your home.
If you don't pay your gas, electric or water bills, the fuel or water company could, as a last resort, cut off your supply.
DON'T PANIC; you will be given warning and provided you act quickly enough, it is nearly always possible to stop these things happening.
It is best to let your creditors know as soon as possible if you have money problems and, if you can, pay something now even if it's only a few pounds.
These are your priority creditors and a list of action you can take:
Water - Call the customer services and ask if you could set up a payment plan
Sewerage - You will be offered a payment book so you canmake weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments
Hire Purchase for Essential Goods Only - Call your lender and ask if you can pay a small amount toward the arrears, on top of your normalpayment
Maintenance/Child Support Agency (CSA) - Contact the CSA and ask if you can pay the Support Agency (CSA) arrears over a period of time
Magistrates Court Fines - Ask the court for the form 'Determination of Means' This will let you reduce payments if you can't afford them
National Insurance - Call the Contributions Agency/Inland Revenue, and ask if you can pay your arrears over a period of time
You may feel you have other priorities in addition to these, such as your telephone.
Do think very carefully about your reasons and the consequences before deciding what your priorities are.
DO make offers for regular payments that you can keep to check your personal budget carefully.
DON'T be panicked or pressured into offering more than you can realistically afford.
It is far better to keep to a small regular payment, rather than to make promises you can't keep.
Use 'Sample letter 2' (offer to priority creditor) to contact your creditors with offers of repayment. If you know why you are in debt, (such as redundancy, drop in wages or birth of a child) it will help to tell your creditors this. Write the details on an extra sheet and send it with your letters.