Publicly-owned utilities will cut bills by £220 annually, says Labour

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Nationalising the water and energy industries will cut household bills by £220 a year, Labour has claimed.

Following the launch of its General Election manifesto setting out plans to take the utilities into public ownership, the party said the move would enable it to put money back into the pockets of consumers.

It said it could cut annual water bills by £100 and energy bills by £120, stopping dividends to shareholders while cutting the cost of interest payments on the companies' debts as the government would be able to borrow more cheaply.

Labour said the water companies had paid dividends averaging £1.8 billion over the past 10 years while interest payments would be reduced by £500 million a year under public ownership - an annual average saving of £2.3 billion.

An analysis by the party of energy company accounts in 2013 found they were paying out £3.2 billion a year in dividends and interest payments.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "Labour will rebalance our economy so that the many are no longer ripped off by the wealthy and powerful few.

"Our plans for public ownership and greater transparency will slash bills and drive investment in efficiency and renewables."

A Conservative spokesman said: "Jeremy Corbyn can't deliver any of this - it just doesn't add up. These are made up numbers based on a shambolic manifesto with a £58 billion black hole at its heart."