Simon Read: Time to act as complaints about payday firms soar

The Financial Ombudsman Service this week revealed that there has been a 75 per cent increase in the last year in complaints about payday lenders. Crucially it added that it is finding in consumers' favour in nearly three-quarters of the cases.

That shows that payday lenders are continuing to behave badly. I don't want to shut all these firms down, but I do want to curb their activities - particularly the targeting of vulnerable people through fancy television ads that promise easy money, quickly.

So I was pleased to see the UK's only poverty minister saying much the same on Wednesday. Huw Lewis, Wales' Minister for Tackling Poverty, called for a crackdown on lenders' ads, pointing out: "Many payday lenders do not comply with basic compliance requirements, such as assessing the affordability of a loan for an applicant."

The Office of Fair Trading investigation into the sector must include the views of Mr Lewis and introduce tighter controls.