Payday lending
Payday lenders are accused of legal loan sharking because of their sky-high interest rates and punitive penalties when repayments are missedReuters

Payday loan adverts must be banned from children's television, according to an influential group of MPs.

The recommendation was made by Parliament's Business Select Committee in its report on the controversial payday lending industry, which is accused by critics of legal loan sharking.

Research by media regulator Ofcom found that children aged between 4 and 15 saw 3 million payday loan adverts in 2008. By 2012, this had rocketed to 596 million – taking the average to 70 per child.

"It is worrying that our children are being exposed to such an extent to adverts that can present payday loans as a fun, easy and appropriate way to access finance," said Adrian Bailey, chairman of the business committee.

"Children's programmes are simply not an acceptable place for payday loan adverts."

The committee's report also made a series of proposals to banking watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority on how best to manage and regulate payday lenders.

MPs said lenders should be forced to add "health warnings", such as how a payday loan affects an individual's credit rating, at every stage of the application process.

The FCA must get payday lenders to resubmit their borrower affordability tests for regulatory approval before they can carry on doing business, as well as strong-arm the industry into establishing real-time data sharing by July 2014 to stop lending to already leveraged consumers.

And borrowers should only be allowed one rollover on their repayments, a process that lengthens the life of the initial loan for those struggling to pay it back, a stricter rule than the two rollover limit currently proposed by Chancellor George Osborne.

"If a customer misses a loan repayment it is evidence that they are in financial difficulty and that the lending is unsustainable," said Bailey.

"It is not, as some payday loan companies seem to think, reason for offering a rollover.

"Payday loans should only be considered as a response to occasional financial shortfalls, not longer-term financial difficulty. Rolling loans over multiple times makes them long-term, and therefore inappropriate. Limiting to one rollover would ensure that they are kept short term."

In November, Osborne unveiled plans to cap the sky-high interest rates offered on payday loans. The precise cap will be determined by the FCA and added to the Banking Reform Bill currently working its way through parliament.

The UK payday lending sector is worth £2bn. Its value has doubled since 2008/2009. Current figures show that this corresponds to between 7.4 and 8.2 million new loans.

Despite these loans being described as one-off and short term, costing an average £25 per £100 for 30 days, up to half of payday lenders' revenue comes from loans that are rolled over or refinanced.