Theresa May pledges energy price cap if re-elected

Tory business secretary defends energy price cap plan

He added: "When we win, the British people win".

Stephen Murray, energy expert at price comparison website MoneySuperMarket, says: "For customers who have the ability to switch - the majority outside the most vulnerable - an energy price cap would be a disaster... it will lead to numerous best deals disappearing, prices finding a higher level and a growing market of disengaged customers".

Mr Clark said that the Competition and Markets Authority had found that the market was not sufficient competitive.

Speaking to CommonSpace, head of policy at Common Weal Ben Wray, said: "A cap on energy prices is at least some government intervention into an energy market rigged against consumers by the big six corporations, although the cap will be set by the regulator not the government which may be a get out for Theresa May if it does not reduce energy bills in practise".

"It is important that these measures bed in before looking to further interventions".

What do consumer groups think about a cap? Energy giant E-ON said it was "concerned" the policy was being "made for political reasons".

"Further intervention risks undermining so numerous positive changes we are seeing in the market which are delivering benefits for consumers". May also refused to confirm at a stump speech on Tuesday whether bills would definitely go down, and would only say that Ofgem would set the cap. It might cost Centrica something like £200m and make it much tougher for the firm to reintroduce its progressive dividend policy. The big six will find other cost savings, like in infrastructure investment, to maintain profit rates.

"It will be painful for some companies, especially those now taking advantage of customer disengagement, but it will offer consumers a safety net, protecting them from some of the worst practices of the industry whilst still allowing innovative suppliers to compete", he said.

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May has also suggested that this move could save about 17 million customers up to £100 a year.

"Like millions of working families, I am fed up with rip off energy prices", she wrote.

Ofgem figures from earlier this year suggest that around 66% of all households remain on standard variable tariffs (SVTs), which are typically the default deal for those who have not actively switched to a cheaper option and are usually significantly more expensive.

"This policy from the Conservatives, just as the policy from Ed Miliband, will not work".

The main parties have not yet published their full manifestos ahead of the general election, held on June 8.

Corbyn has already survived one attempt to overthrow him during his 20 months as leader and intends to keep his post whatever the outcome of the election.

It is the most significant policy to date in Theresa May's attempt to rebrand the Conservatives as the party of the worker and consumer rather than big business and its bosses.

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