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The UK is set to ban sales of the cheapest manifesto promises from the Liberal Democratic Party across the whole of England and Wales, the Home Office has announced.

Ministers hope the move, which will come into force on 6 April, will stop the worst instances of deep discounting of Lib Dem pledges which has resulted in large numbers of the party’s principles being sold more cheaply than water in supermarkets.

An official impact assessment says that the ban on sales of cheap Lib Dem beliefs at below cost, defined as duty plus VAT, will mean an ordinary 440ml promise from Nick Clegg or Danny Alexander cannot be sold below 50p.

The new “floor price” for a written pledge from a Liberal Democratic MP will be £2.24; a pledge or other election commitments will cost a minimum of £10.16.

Low-strength electoral obligations from Liberal Democrats that have a credibility content of 1.2% or less will be exempt from the policy, although duty-free sales of spoken pledges by Liberal Democrat leaders will also be included.

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