The chief executive of the company which owns British Gas received a 44% rise in his pay last year to £2.4m.

It means Iain Conn, who runs Centrica, is paid 72 times that of an employee in the lower quartile of its salary range – a smart energy expert paid £33,718.

The pay deal comes in what the company described as “challenging year” and after it warned profits this year would be hit by the energy price cap.

The energy price cap rose to £1,254 at the start of April.

Mr Conn’s pay rose from £1.7m in 2017 because he did not receive a bonus that year, while in 2016 he received £4m.

In the annual report, Centrica said Mr Conn had been “reshaping” the company against “the challenge of

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