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Money Advice

If you are finding it difficult to meet your financial obligations, you are not alone, however it is important that you do something about it. Don’t ignore calls or letters from the people to whom you owe money, they won't go away. Contact your creditors to explain why you are having a problem, as most will be sympathetic to your situation.

As a member of your Credit Union, you have access to trained money advisers, who may be able to offer assistance to resolve your problems. Contact our office to see if we can help on 0141 771 1314 or e-mail info@scottishpolicecu.co.uk.  We also work closely with other money advice agencies such as Money Advice Scotland and Citizens Advice Bureau. Links to both these organisations can be found in our Links section.

Many commercial companies offer various options for debt management. Remember that commercial companies operate to make a profit, therefore making use of their services could be expensive. Please note that neither the Credit Union, nor any other money advice agency we may refer members to, will charge you for their assistance.

There are some steps you can take yourself to help you get back in control of your finances.

1. Make a list of your debts

Make a list of all your creditors, it will be helpful to have the following information for each debt;

  • the name and address of the creditor
  • the account or reference number
  • the amount you owe

Keep the latest correspondence or statement for each debt together in one place. This makes it easier to locate them should you need them. From your list, identify the debts you need to deal with first - these are called priority debts. Priority debts include:

Mortgage/Rent Arrears – If you do not deal with these debts, you could lose your home. There may be special schemes available to protect you from losing your home if you have mortgage arrears.

Council Tax Arrears – In Scotland you cannot be imprisoned for council tax arrears, but other methods can be used to enforce the debt. These include your bank account or wages being arrested or sheriff officers seizing some of your possessions.

Court fines for criminal offences, such as driving offences. If you do not pay these you can ultimately be sent to prison.

Maintenance arrears/child support payable to an ex partner or children. Non payment of maintenance/child support can ultimately end in a prison sentence.

Income Tax or Vat arrears - Non payment of income tax or VAT could lead to your bank account or wages being arrested or sheriff officers seizing your possessions.

Secured Loans – This type of loan becomes a priority if it is secured against your home.

Hire Purchase – this is a priority debt if it is for an essential item. If it is for a car and you require a car to get to work, then this is a priority debt.

All other debts are non priority debts. However they should not be ignored, if you do not make an offer to pay without explaining why, your creditors can take further court action against you, including sending sheriff officers to take some of your possessions away. If you owe more than £3,000 your creditors can apply to make you bankrupt.

2. Work out your budget

Make a list of all the income and expenses for your household. Be honest with your expenditure - there is no point if the amounts are not realistic. We have provided a budget sheet to help you do this. Click here.

You may be able to claim benefits or tax credits.  This will help in increasing your income. It may also identify areas where you can make savings, thus reducing your expenses. When you have added up all the figures, you will see if you have any money left over to pay your debts.

3. Sort out your priority debts

When you have worked out how much you have left over after paying expenses, contact each of your priority creditors. Show them your budget and try to make an arrangement to pay back what you can afford. If you cannot afford to pay anything to your priority creditors and there is little chance of your situation improving. It would be advisable for you to seek professional advice immediately. Contact one of our recommended agencies (see below).

4. Non priority debts

How you deal with your non priority debts will depend on whether you have any money left over after dealing with your priority debts and paying for essential household expenses like housing and food costs. If you have money to spare, you may be able to arrange a debt payment programme under the debt arrangement scheme. The scheme was set up by the Scottish Government to help people manage their debt. A debt payment programme cannot be arranged directly - an approved money adviser must make the application on your behalf.

For Further Help Contact

Scottish Police Credit Union Ltd – E-mail; info@scottishpolicecu.co.ukTel; 0141 771 1314
Step Change Debt Charity Scotland – www.stepchange.org/DebtadviceinScotland.aspx Tel; 0800 138 3328
Money Advice Scotland – www.moneyadvicescotland.org.uk and follow online options
Citizens Advice Scotland – www.cas.org.uk, follow online options