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Christmas money worries for 1 in 4

More than a quarter of people in our region are worried about how they will afford Christmas this year, according to a new survey.

The Money Advice Service says almost a third of us will turn to credit cards to help fund our celebrations, while 1 in 25 will take out a payday loan.

It is urging shoppers to plan their festive spending carefully, including making a budget, comparing online and high street shops and looking for special offers.

Christmas shoppers should spend wisely Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Flood victims face five-fold increase in insurance

Thousands of flood victims across our region are facing spiralling insurance premiums this winter - while others can't get any insurance at all.

That's despite more assurances from David Cameron in the aftermath of months of flooding on the Somerset Levels.

But some are now facing a fivefold increase in their premiums - or are facing winter without any cover. Here's David Woodland.

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Moorland villagers face home insurance battle

A fifth of the 126 flood victims at Moorland on the Somerset Levels haven't been able to get buildings insurance this year. Others have seen huge hikes in premiums even if they didn't flood.

The swollen River Parrett runs next to Rebecca Horsington's farmhouse but it has never flooded the house, as it overflows in the other direction. Despite that she was told her insurance would rise from £435 to £3500.

Moorland at the height of last winter's floods. Credit: PA

It makes a nonsense of what has happened here because we have had the dredge happen, we've had flood defences put in, so really our flood risk is a lot lower than it was before the floods hit and therefore the insurance premiums should be reflecting that.

– Rebecca Horsington

Result of fire merger consultation to be announced

A proposed merger between the Dorset and Wiltshire fire services is looking increasingly likely after receiving overwhelming public support.

Information from questionnaires sent to libraries, fire stations and other public buildings - together with an on-line questionnaire - showed most people preferred a merger over other cost-saving measures.

The results of the consultation will be announced today.

The human cost of debt - how the stress of payday loans led one man to take his own life

Ian Jordan took his own life after running up huge debts Credit: Family photograph

A woman whose father took his own life after running up debts of more than 20 thousand pounds is calling on the Government to crackdown on payday loan companies.

Ian Jordan lived in Southampton. His daughter says he couldn't cope with the pressure they put him under. He was even bombarded with more than a thousand demanding text messages after his death.

Frances Walker of debt advice charity StepChange says:

"Before you take out a payday loan be very confident that you can pay it back. Don't take out more loans to pay it back and if you're rolling over, and can't afford the debt that's a really strong indicator you need help. Seek debt advice from a charity such as ours."

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Calls for crackdown on payday loans from woman whose father committed suicide

Ian Jordan committed suicide after running up huge payday loan debts Credit: PA

A Bristol woman whose father committed suicide after running up debts of more than 20 thousand pounds is calling on the Government to crackdown on the practices of payday loan companies.

Samantha Carr says her father, Ian Jordan, couldn't cope with the pressure they put him under. He was even bombarded with more than a thousand demanding text messages after he had died.

Charlotte Leslie criticises Bristol Mayor's parking plan

A controversial plan to end free parking on Bristol's Durdham Downs has been criticised by the area's MP.

Charlotte Leslie and two local councillors say Mayor George Ferguson's plan to remove 500 spaces will outrage residents and commuters who are already opposed to Residents' Parking Zones.

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