Dominic Raab vows to put BILLIONS in Brits’ pockets if he becomes PM by taking on energy, insurance and telecoms giants – The Sun
TORY leadership hopeful Dominic Raab has hailed himself as the man who can seal a great deal for Britain — and not just from the EU.
The former Brexit Secretary believes he can save Brits up to £4billion a year by tackling big firms which rip off customers on energy bills, insurance cover or mobile phone contracts.
Mr Raab, a 7-2 shot to be next PM, said “the consumer will be king”.
He said: “Maybe I’m the underdog in this contest but I’ll be the underdog fighting for the underdog.”
In an exclusive interview with The Sun on Sunday, he revealed his first mission after leading Britain out of the EU will be to take on the firms that keep prices artificially high.
If he becomes PM, he will lead a “relentless drive” to break the grip of corporate giants and free up small firms to challenge the big players so they can offer customers more choice and cheaper deals.
Mr Raab, 45, said: “It will be among my first tasks to crack down on this rip-off culture with a radical competition-driven reform agenda.
“We have to deal with what are effectively scams which dupe the customer because they don’t realise what they are paying for.
“Across the board I want to make it as easy for consumers to exit a contract as it is to enter one.”
Mr Raab is eager to use the skills he learned as a competition lawyer in London and Brussels to take on the might of major monopolies — and stubborn EU negotiators.
He believes that will give him the edge in going in to bat for Britain to clinch a Brexit deal before October 31 and putting more money in the pockets of everyday families.
Outlining his “fairness for all” agenda for the first time, Mr Raab revealed a radical overhaul of competition laws, including:
- ENDING automatic renewal of home and car insurance and allowing customers to opt in;
- MAKING it easier to change gas or electricity providers by allowing the new supplier to manage the switch;
- CREATING better deals for mobile phone users, including allowing customers to switch via apps;
- OUTLAWING hidden charges for foreign currency which penalise families taking a hard-earned holiday;
- GIVING watchdogs powers to slap anti-competitive behaviour orders — or Acpos — on cowboy firms who fleece their customers.
ASPIRATIONAL CLASS CHAMPION
Mr Raab says acting as consumer champion will appeal to the aspirational class who have waited for too long for a bit more spare cash.
He added: “I’ve been arguing for tax cuts for the lowest paid and lower-middle income families because I want to give them a pay rise.
“But also I want to cut their cost of living to make their pay go a little further each week.
“A healthy consumerism that makes sure they get good deals with their hard-earned cash is one way of dealing with that.
“We’ve got to stop a small number of big businesses tying up the market, squeezing out the competition and screwing the consumer.”
He believes the market is in the “vice-like grip” of a small number of big firms and points to evidence unearthed after a super-complaint brought by Citizens Advice in December.
It led to the Competition and Markets Authority revealing that consumers were being ripped off by sharp corporate practice to the tune of almost £4billion a year.
Many were customers suffering a “loyalty penalty” for sticking with the same supplier.
Dad-of-two Mr Raab, a karate black belt, added: “Like so many people, I’m fed up with calling up my supplier for hiking my annual contract fees with no good reason, after years of loyal custom. Whenever I get that form saying my home or car insurance is up for renewal, it invariably means they are trying to charge you 20, 30 or 40 quid more than last year.
“But if you ring up and question it, you end up finding they will give you a better deal than before.
“So there is something fishy going on and I want to stop it.
“I want to change the law, so switching is managed by the new supplier, to avoid the existing one trying to delay or frustrate the move.
“And exit fees would be barred after an initial minimum period.”
‘I CAN GET BETTER EU DEAL’
He will also facilitate more “group switching” by organisations such as the Big Deal.
Its 400,000 members use their collective clout to land better deals, saving members an average of £278 a year on gas and electricity bills.
Mr Raab would replace the government’s “clumsy” price cap with new rules forcing greater transparency on energy bills. Consumer champion Which? estimates doing so would save some customers on standard variable tariffs up to £329 a year.
And Mr Raab insists he can use the same bargaining power to get the EU to come up with a better deal — to avoid losing a lucrative relationship with the UK. He said: “There is no reason to lose our cool.
“We would like to get a deal if it’s possible, whatever the mood music coming out of Brussels.
“But when push comes to shove, you’ve got to be willing to walk away, otherwise you don’t look credible. We need to be clear we are coming out at the end of October.
“We should keep our promises, so we have got to deliver Brexit so we can move on to all the other things such as tax cuts, building affordable homes and consumerism.
“By combining transparency, competition and technology, the mission of the next Conservative government should be to deliver cheaper deals by strengthening consumer clout and giving Britain a fairer deal.
“If I’m the next Prime Minister the consumer will be king.”
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