I got this article published in the local papers (the Ham & High and the Tottenham & Wood Green Journal) about joining the North London credit union and Christmas shopping on our local high streets.  Let me know what you think:

Christmas is a time when many people struggle financially, so Lib Dem councillors have been working to promote our local credit union as a much cheaper alternative to payday lenders like Wonga and The Money Shop.

The London Capital Credit Union offers low-cost loans to help people who are struggling with the costs of Christmas, and also encourages people to start saving so that they are less likely to need a loan next year.

Both Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone and I are members and we are urging local residents to join to make the union a bigger success, so it can help even more local people avoid loan sharks and expensive payday lenders.

For those looking to save, the union gives you a return on your investment through regular dividend payments and your money could help a family pay for Christmas.

The coalition government has given its support to the credit union movement and recently invested £38million to expand credit unions. If you want to join the credit union to borrow or to save, you can sign-up online at www.credit-union.coop.

There is a lot we can all do at Christmas to help local small business too. For many independent small firms, Christmas can be a make-or-break period. That’s why the Lib Dems have been campaign for free, not half-price, Christmas parking.

Local shopkeepers have been up in arms since the Labour-run council doubled parking charges last year – hitting business in our local high streets.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for 30 minutes of free parking in local high streets and at local shopping centres. This would boost local trade by allowing people to stop at local shops, park and buy a few things instead of going to a supermarket and parking there.

Please do what you can to keep the small businesses and shops that give our borough its character by shopping local. Buying a few Christmas presents at a small local shop instead of buying them at a large chain can make a big difference and it doesn’t take much effort.

By making a few small changes, like opening an account with the credit union or by shopping locally this Christmas, you could make a big difference to local families and businesses who are struggling over the festive period.

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I completely agree about shopping locally and belonging to a credit union. I spent yesterday buying Xmas presents from local shops and have been a member of the North London Credit Union for a couple of years. On a party political note, the Labour-run council in Enfield gave free car parking in council-run car parks yesterday to help make shopping local easier.

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