The Daily Mail has raised eyebrows with its coverage of Theresa May’s latest pledge on energy after some compared it to the paper’s treatment of Ed Miliband’s similar pledge four years ago.
The paper featured the news of the Conservatives’ energy price cap on default tariffs on its front page on Tuesday morning.
The splash featured the headline “£100 off your energy bill”, with the strapline “Theresa pledges cap on tariff paid by 70% of families”.
The story said that the prime minister was moving to cap “rip-off” prices by giving energy regulator Ofgem powers to set maximum prices.
But some pointed out that a similar pledge by Ed Miliband back in 2013 wasn’t exactly treated positively...
On BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, a clip was also played of then-PM David Cameron’s comments to Miliband regarding his party’s energy proposals.
He told the then-Labour leader: “There’s one thing government’s can’t control and that is the international wholesale price of gas.
“I know we’d like to live in some sort of Marxist universe where you can control all these things but he needs a basic lesson in economics.”
A number of people pointed this out that the Tories seemed to have done something of a U-turn since then...
Speaking to energy secretary Greg Clark about the new proposal, presenter Justin Webb challenged him over the similarity with Labour’s policy in 2013.
Clark replied: “The Labour policy in 2013 would, as is well-known now, have been totally counter-productive. It was billed as a freeze, in fact it was advertised-”
Webb interrupted, saying: “Yes, but it eventually became a cap. They were promising to do pretty much the same thing as you.
“Those people who couldn’t move easily were going to be protected and that’s what you’re doing.
“We were told all sorts of things, we were told there was going to be less investment, indeed that’s what the companies are saying today. We were told they would raise their prices and it seems they already are raising their prices in order to make sure they don’t suffer when this happens. All those things that you promised would happen if Labour did it are happening or going to happen.”
Clark protested: “No, because Labour’s was a very crude policy it was to freeze prices and actually wholesale prices fell, it was to directly intervene by politicians setting the tariffs.”
The interview also caused some to draw comparisons with Miliband...
The Tories’ proposed cap would apply to default tariffs – or so-called standard variable tariffs – which around 17 million households are on, against prices rising by more than 150% over the last fifteen years.
The party said the cap will be set by energy regulator Ofgem, and follows the cap on prices for customers with pre-payment meters, which was introduced in April.
There were no details on how much the cap would save families, but a press release pointed to the difference between the best and the worst deals on the market being as much as £300.