THE number of people ­struggling to cope with payday loan debts has risen by more than 13,000 in the past year, figures show.

Debt charity StepChange said it dealt with 43,716 such people in the first six months of this year, compared with 30,762 for the same period last year. It said the figures highlight the need for further action to protect vulnerable people who might consider taking out a loan.

In July the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced proposals to introduce a cap on the fees and interest charged by payday lending firms.

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The proposals, which include default fees capped at £15 and a limit of 0.8 per cent per day on interest on unpaid balances, should mean those who cannot repay on time will never have to pay back more in charges than the amount borrowed. The clampdown is due to come into force in ­January, subject to a ­consultation period.

StepChange is calling for a tougher total cost cap than 100 per cent of the value of the loan, especially in relation to higher value loans

Its chief executive Mike O'Connor said "While the FCA's proposed price cap is a crucial step forward, there is still much work to be done to ensure that payday loans can no longer plunge people into a cycle of unsustainable borrowing."