5 minute read

Debt and bills: how to navigate the Corona-crisis: If you have debt, what should you do?

We are living in unprecedented times. It’s also a time for empathy and compassion and many companies are going above and beyond to support the public during these uncertain times. 

Millions of people in the UK have some form of debt - be it a credit card, a personal loan or an overdraft. If you do have debt and you’re worried about how you’re going to afford your repayments, it’s important to prioritise.

If you think you’re at risk of missing a payment, defaulting on a bill, falling into arrears or even paying your rent it’s important to be proactive - speak to your lender, your landlord, HMRC - whoever it is! - before you get into trouble with your payments. 

To start, visit your lenders’ websites and see if they have released any information on their response to Covid-19. If they haven’t and you know you’re going to struggle to pay a bill, it’s best to get ahead of the game and let them know. 

Where do I go to find out more?

  • The Money Advice Service website has an overview of typical household bills and provides tips on which to prioritise and advice on how to go about how you can tackle each one individually if you find yourself struggling. Find out more on their website.
  • See below a table from Stepchange’s website which shows different types of debt and then the consequences of non-payment. For some information visit their website.


Type of debt

Consequences of non-payment

Mortgage or secured loan




Council Tax

A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage, money taken from benefits, debt secured against home, bankruptcy, imprisonment*

Child Maintenance

Money taken from wage, money taken from benefits, visit from bailiffs, imprisonment

Magistrates Court Fines

A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage, money taken from benefits, imprisonment

Tax, VAT or National Insurance

A visit from bailiffs, money taken from wage, bankruptcy, County Court judgment (CCJ)

County Court judgment

A visit from bailiffs, a charging order, money taken from wage

TV licence

A fine

Gas or electricity

Disconnection, money taken from benefits

Hire purchase or logbook loan

Repossession, County Court judgment (CCJ)


Disconnection, County Court judgment (CCJ)

What help is out there?

  • The government is announcing new measures daily to try to combat the impact being felt by Brits due to Coronavirus:
    Local authorities are being given £500m to help fund financial support for vulnerable people. One form of help is Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) which is a means tested additional contribution towards housing costs when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn't meet the entire cost of rent. For more information visit the government website or contact the relevant local authority to apply and for further information. Self employed individuals are being given a grant of up to 80% of earnings over the last 3 years, up to £2500 per month. The grant is taxable and only open to people with profits up to £50,000. To qualify the majority of your income must come from self-employment. For more information and eligibility, check out the website 
  • HMRC has released further details about how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will enable employers to claim 80% of furloughed employees’ wages up to £2,500 a month, will operate. 
  • Entitledto is a useful website which gives you an indication of what different types of financial help you may be entitled to. Now is a good time to check if you are entitled to any benefits or support from the government - it may be that you’re not claiming for something that you are eligible for. 
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