PAYDAY loan websites will be banned from all computers in public libraries across Lancashire, after council members voted to restrict their access.

The websites will be banned from all county council computers, including in libraries, and advertising by payday loan companies will also be banned from all LCC property including bus shelters, buildings and hoardings.

Councillors also resolved to promote access to affordable credit, by encouraging people to use their local credit unions.

At a meeting at County Hall, Coun Azhar Ali said: “Payday loan companies, although legal, are preying on vulnerable people on low incomes, charging immoral rates of interest, which often spiral out of control heaping further misery on thousands of people across Lancashire.

“Lancashire (County) Council will promote local credit unions and other responsible lenders as an alternative.”

Supporting the proposal, Coun Marcus Johnstone said people who turned to payday lending websites were less likely to have access to the internet at home, and as such would be likely to use the free internet services as public libraries.

He said: “People who don’t have access to information technology at home go to their local library.

“We need to be preventing free access to pay day lenders. At the same time we will be promoting local credit unions.”

In a similar move, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has already blocked access to payday loan websites via council-owned IT equipment, a decision which came into effect in August.

The news from LCC comes on the back of an announcement on Thursday by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that payday loan companies were to be more tightly regulated.

The FCA has proposed that all borrowers should have an ‘affordability’ check before being given a loan, and it wants to put risk warnings on adverts and marketing material.