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Bailiffs (England & Wales)

Bailiffs can be employed to collect various types of debt, but usually only once the creditor has taken some kind of court action. Their powers will depend on who has instructed them to act. In most cases, they should not force entry to private property. The exception to this rule is for magistrates' court fines. We recommend that you seek advice if you are having problems dealing with bailiffs.


Bankruptcy (also known as sequestration in Scotland) is a way of dealing with debts that you cannot pay. Whilst you are bankrupt any assets that you have might be used to pay off your debts. After a certain period of time all of your outstanding debts included in your bankruptcy are written off and you can make a fresh start. The effects of going bankrupt are the same whether you file your own petition or your creditors make you bankrupt.

Read more about bankruptcy in England and Wales.

Read more about bankruptcy in Scotland.

Basic bank account

Most basic bank accounts have the following features:-
- no minimum opening balance
- no fees to pay
- wages, salaries, benefits and tax credits can be paid in direct
- cheques and cash can be paid in
- bills can be paid by direct debit
- cash can be withdrawn through cash machines
- you have access to the last penny in the account.

More information about basic bank accounts, including a comparison table, can be found in the "Money Advice Service" leaflet about basic bank accounts.

Benefits (general)

State benefits generally fall into one of two categories: those which are means-tested - so your income and savings will be taken into account - and those which are not. There is a wide range of benefits to cover all sorts of households. Receiving certain benefits - such as Jobseekers' Allowance or Income Support - may entitle you in turn to help with living costs such as housing and council tax. Read more about what is available and whether you qualify.