A SOMERSET credit union is advising people to start putting money aside now for next Christmas.

The not-for-profit Somerset Savings and Loans Credit Union is urging people to not turn to payday loans to pay the Christmas bill when they could start saving now.

Paul Urch, treasurer, said: “Saving a modest sum equivalent to the price of a packet of cigarettes every week from now until December will put more than £400 in their next Christmas kitty.

“More importantly it will keep hardup families out of the grip of payday loan firms and doorstep lenders.

“The sad fact is people who went to payday loan companies in the weeks before Christmas 2013 could well find themselves paying off their loans this time next winter.”