A COUNCIL is urging people to seek financial advice to avoid getting into debt this Christmas.

Durham County Council is working with Prince Bishops Community Bank and the North East First Credit Union to promote the sensible loans and effective savings they offer members.

Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Christmas is meant to be a time of happiness and joy but with parents feeling under immense pressure to buy their children the latest toys and gadgets it can also be a time of great stress and worry about money.”

The council funded a new Apprentice-themed promotional video to alert people to the dangers of using weekly payment stores, showing that a credit union could save Christmas shoppers £1,000 by allowing them to buy a £500 iPad outright instead of signing up for weekly payments and eventually paying more than £1,500 for the same item.

The video and information on credit unions are on the website durham.gov.uk/financialhelp.