The body representing payday lenders has hit back at the council for its decision to block them from its IT network.

Haringey Borough Council last week prevented people accessing the websites of 50 payday loan companies from council computers in the borough’s libraries and other buildings.

This move was a bid to protect the public from excessive annual interest rates of more than 4,000 per cent charged by some companies.

The council blocked the 50 most popular payday loan companies as determined by internet search engine Google. These include Wonga, Payday UK and The Money Shop.

Its IT systems meant it was unable to block 'loan’ providers because other finance websites would also be blocked.

The council will continue to monitor the situation and block any other compaines that arose.

However the Consumer Finance Association, which represents some of the largest lenders, said the move was “concerning”, adding it limited the choices of residents, especially as the bodies it represented were “safe” and “responsible.”

The body’s chief executive Russell Hamblin-Boone said: “The council is free to block whichever sites it wishes from its employees' computers but to also do so on public ones in community centres and libraries is concerning.

“The council is effectively denying choice to local residents without fully understanding either the short-term lending industry or the way people are managing their finances in 2013.

Mr Hamblin-Boone said payday loans were increasingly popular and responsible lenders such as the CFA's members operated to high standards that protect consumers.

He added these bodies apply the same level of expertise to assessing creditworthiness as banks and credit card providers and would not lend to people whose finances would be made worse by them

He said: “Research shows that 91 per cent of payday customers are satisfied with the experience and 85 per cent have no trouble paying back their loans,

"The council's belief that the loans are detrimental to those that take them is misplaced and not based on evidence."