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British Gas owner appoints Amber Rudd as a director

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Amber Rudd’s other private-sector roles include senior adviser to cybersecurity firm Darktrace (Getty Images)
Amber Rudd’s other private-sector roles include senior adviser to cybersecurity firm Darktrace (Getty Images)

Former minister Amber Rudd – who as energy secretary oversaw the development of the energy price cap – is joining the board of British Gas owner Centrica, just as the government is facing pressure to change the cap.

Ms Rudd, also a former home secretary, was a high-profile opponent of Brexit before the referendum, warning during the campaign that electricity costs could soar if the UK quit the EU single energy market.

She will become a non-executive director of Centrica just as energy companies are seeking to have the price cap for consumers raised so they can pass on more of the wholesale price rises in people’s bills.

They want the government to remove environmental taxes from energy bills and suspend VAT.

Average annual household bills are forecast to shoot up by around 56 per cent, to £2,000, in April when the price cap is recalculated.

Scott Wheway, Centrica chairman, said: “As secretary of state for energy and climate change, Amber was the driving force in the UK’s participation in the Paris climate change agreement, the first legally binding global commitment to reduce national carbon emissions.”

In 2016, Ms Rudd warned of “a massive electric shock”, saying British bills would soar by the equivalent of around £1.5m a day, and giving Russian president Vladimir Putin more influence over Europe.

She also backed plans to keep Britain’s oldest nuclear power plants generating electricity for up to seven years longer than planned.

Centrica’s chief executive, Chris O’Shea, said the company was not interested in receiving a government bailout to help it reduce the effect of soaring energy bills on consumers.

Ms Rudd’s other private-sector roles include senior adviser to cybersecurity firm Darktrace, adviser at public relations firm Teneo and senior adviser at Finsbury Glover Hering, founded by her brother, Roland Rudd.

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