The government has backed a call to ban under 18s from using sunbeds at tanning salons.

Health secretary Andy Burnham announced his full support for the prospective ban, which is part of a private member’s bill being introduced by Cardiff North MP Julie Morgan.

Mr Burnham said there was clear evidence sunbeds increase the risk of skin cancer and it is far too easy for young people to use sunbeds.

Ms Morgan said it will be a struggle to get the bill through before the looming general election but hopes Mr Burnham’s backing will smooth its way. There was no doubt about the skin damage young people could suffer and the campaign had cross party and public support, she said.

Ms Morgan and charity Cancer Research UK will launch the bill, to have its second reading in the House of Commons on 29 January.

A Cancer Research UK report commissioned by the government found 6 per cent of children aged 11 to 17 had used a sunbed, with the figure rising to 11 per cent in the North of England.