Biggest ever poll shows huge support for nationalisation

Polling showing support for nationalisation

16 August 2022

Privatisation has failed. Our new poll shows a majority of the UK public support public ownership of key utilities like energy and water - including Conservative voters. This polling was covered in the Express, the National and the Morning Star.

In its largest ever poll on the topic, Survation polled 4300 people on the question “do you think the following services should be run in the private sector or the public sector?”. A majority of people want water, energy, rail, buses, Royal Mail and the NHS to be run in the public sector.

Our survey comes as the government is feeling the pressure on rocketing energy prices and 100,000 people have pledged not to pay their bills. In recent days, former prime minister Gordon Brown has called for temporary nationalisation as a solution. The Times and the Telegraph have both run articles explaining the track record of privatisation, while the Guardian has come out in favour of nationalising water.

66% of the public want to see energy in public ownership, including 62% of Conservative voters. We Own It is calling on the government to turn Bulb into a publicly owned supply company instead of paying Octopus £1 billion to take over the failed private company. This company could also generate renewable energy. In France, publicly owned EDF has limited bill rises to 4%.

68% of Conservative voters want water to be nationalised. The privatised water companies in England are under fire over introducing hosepipe bans while leaking away up to a quarter of water and pouring sewage into rivers and seas. If England had public ownership like Scotland does, an extra £28 billion would have been spent on infrastructure to cut leaks and protect rivers and seas.

The survey shows public ownership is popular across all education and income levels, ages and gender, across all political parties, in all regions of the UK. It’s popular with Leavers and Remainers.

Cat Hobbs, We Own It’s director said “Privatisation has failed for nearly 40 years. Politicians can’t ignore the truth any longer – these monopolies are a cash cow for shareholders around the world and we need to take them back. We need energy companies that don’t rip us off, public transport that works for passengers, water companies that don’t pour sewage into our rivers. We call on the government to bring energy, water, public transport and the Royal Mail into public ownership, and to reinstate our NHS as a fully public service. Labour and all opposition parties must commit to public ownership. The clue’s in the name – public services are supposed to work for us, the public.”

Polling showing support for nationalisation

Do you believe in public services for people not profit?

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Elizabeth Guinness replied on Permalink

Good to nationalise instead of baling out

Patrick replied on Permalink

How would nationalisation reduce world gas prices ?

Your taxes would have to go up.

Caroline Slater replied on Permalink

Actually, THEIR taxes would have to go up and it's high time they did. Shell paid zero tax in the UK last year despite announcing record profits of £11 billion. The UK taxxpayer paid Shell over £100 million.

Patrick replied on Permalink

'IF' it's true that Shell paid "zero tax last year"....

Was that because :

a) the previous year saw low crude oil prices

b) that the UK is one of the places where Shell invests in developing oil fields and energy innovation - investments that reduce UK profits and attract allowances for capital investments and R & D ?

David Smith replied on Permalink

Who is one of the richest nations? Norway, Kept their oil and invested in the country. Thatcher used it to keep millions unemployed.

Miriam Yagud replied on Permalink

Exactly that! It's the private companies, not citizens who are freeloading and profiteering.

Jean boxall replied on Permalink

Thatcher privatised it all. Sold her soul and ours to the highest bidder. We never had any problems until it was all sold off. So many companies that charge extortionate prices. Nationalise them all. Bring it back into public's hands

Stuart McCorquodale replied on Permalink

The price you pay includes a huge amount that goes to foreign shareholders. Most of our energy is owned by foreign companies, including even foreign countries! EDF, the French state owned energy company, owns a huge swathe of energy distribution in the UK. Profit is taken out of the UK to these foreign companies, shareholders and even to fund foreign infrastructure.

Clinton John Ea... replied on Permalink

Our taxes would go down because we would not have to pay the billions of ££££'s to share holders because we are the shareholders

Jane Yuen replied on Permalink

Go for the Nationalisation in major public utilities!!! UK supports UK!!! Cease the ownership in public utilities by foreign / private investors. God save the United Kingdom :)

Ray Nelson replied on Permalink

This campaign needs to be ramped up to cause mps to change their minds. These monopolies need to be held in the nations interest not just so the super rich can skim profits. When the water companies were privatised it was to improve investment into infrastructure but this has fundamentally been ignored. Over the last 30 years this has not happened

Muriel Moore replied on Permalink

Privatisation overall has been a disaster. One thing Labour has got right. In spite of being a union member I tend to be anti-labour.

Elizabeth Guinness replied on Permalink

Yes people not profit

Gilian O'Connell replied on Permalink

Nationalise our railways FOR THE PEOPLE!

Patrick replied on Permalink


You're too young to remember British Rail.

Nationalised and a routine target for stand-up comics.

Mick Hills replied on Permalink

Is that the best you can do, talk about right wing comics trying to curry favour with Thatcher? Pathetic really when you look at what is happening.

Benji replied on Permalink

And you're too old to remember why it happened. Thatcher gutted the railways so their privatisation could be justified. Same thing they're doing to the NHS now.

Jason replied on Permalink

Actually, I do remember British Rail, I went to school by train everyday during Thatchers first term of office. The general service was better than it is today. The carriages were old fashioned because they hadn't invested in the future. But Thatcher's mob was running it down to privatise it. A few years later when I was took the train to work after privatisation I remember thinking, where's the benefit of privatisation then? There wasn't any. It benefits only share holders and directors. Train stations are actually not being run to H&S regulations because the lack of staff. All ignored by the government because their mates the bosses wouldn't be making the same amount of money if they had to have the correct amount of staffing levels.

Sally Teeling replied on Permalink

People keep waffling on about how British Rail was a joke. Yeah, mainly for their sandwiches. The rail companies are too awful too joke about now - from double booking seats, trains not running, wanting to pick the staff to the bone. I have a friend who was a train driver, she couldn't handle all the extra weight on driver's shoulders as they got rid of other staff. She left and now drives a coach.

Anon replied on Permalink

It's a very different world now, IT allows for higher levels of efficiency, accountability and transparency. I am completely horrified at how we are likely to be held hostage by energy companies through use of Smart Meters to ramp up prices at peak hours, and depress them comparatively at lower usage times. Very worried by that level of power and control. All meters will be, ultimately, Smart Meters. Air, water, transport, energy, health - need to be in responsible hands. Whose hands are they, and how might they be deemed responsible? This century's big challenge.

Anon replied on Permalink

It's a very different world now, IT allows for higher levels of efficiency, accountability and transparency. I am completely horrified at how we are likely to be held hostage by energy companies through use of Smart Meters to ramp up prices at peak hours, and depress them comparatively at lower usage times. Very worried by that level of power and control. All meters will be, ultimately, Smart Meters. Air, water, transport, energy, health - need to be in responsible hands. Whose hands are they, and how might they be deemed responsible? This century's big challenge.

Keith Cocker replied on Permalink

Wake up Starmer!

CS lINDSAY SMITH replied on Permalink

Its a no brainer, except of course for private utilities companies or individuals who profit from them.

Kelvin Lewis replied on Permalink

Everything worked well before the governments Labour and conservative sold the whole country to friends

Patrick replied on Permalink

"everything worked well before" ???

Presumably you're too young to remember the 70s and 80s - when our Nationalised industries were a sad, running joke.

Julian Gower replied on Permalink

I am old enough to remember and worked for some of them and you're talking rubbish, when prophets were put back into the service instead of being handed out to shareholders and profitiers obviously we had a much better standard of service in our National infrastructure, stop taking your information from the Daily Mail and the rest of the Tory propaganda machine.

John Harwood replied on Permalink

Make corporate lobbying illegal, give us a chance to put right what is wrong.

BERNARD BUTT replied on Permalink

Take it back.

Hazel Jones replied on Permalink

Things have got to change!

Chistine roche replied on Permalink

It’s a no-brainer

T Elliott replied on Permalink

The conservatives will not agree to this unfortunately they have their greedy fingers in too many lucrative pies. I am of the age were their was no privatisation and it worked then.

Ian Johnson replied on Permalink

Of course public services should be for the benefit of the community rather than the benefit of a few.

brendan murphy replied on Permalink

Just like the financial crisis,greed rules! End result of privatisation,low pay,long hours,poor services and food banks !!!

Gerald Alan Norden replied on Permalink

It is obscene that essential services were privatised for the benefit of shareholders, especially when bale outs by the taxpayer are needed - essential public services, water energy, transport, should be nationalised.

Bob Conduct replied on Permalink

I believe everything which is *essential* should be nationally owned, so your list should possibly also include insurance? But we the public and all nationally owned industries *must* have the protection of honest and totally independent monitoring bodies to ensure efficiency.

Michael Collins replied on Permalink

Common resources, common needs, common ownership and control; private choices private property:you know it makes sense.

Hassina Rashid replied on Permalink

All the privatised utilities, energy companies, water companies, are fragmented

Broken into bits , and making huge profits for share holders, bonuses for bosses. There were no bonuses when all services and utilities were in publicly owned,no profits for share holder , The services were efficient and there were accountability’s too .

Bring back public ownerships of all services.

Jackie replied on Permalink

I've had enough of this greed, we need to take back control of all the utilities, etc that we used to own. They were sold off by greedy governments that were not working for us!

Alan Gay replied on Permalink

And the public own the stewardship of ALL the land. Landowners don’t own it. It is in their care

Huw Phillips replied on Permalink

100% People NOT Profit

Alan Jarratt replied on Permalink

40 years of essential utilities privatisation (water, electricity and gas) has failed. Customers have been subjected to ever rising costs coupled with a general disregard by government and utility providers for security of supply (no strategic plan) nor appropriate harmonisation with renewables to provide long term ecological solutions. The focus has been solely on profit for shareholders and revenue streams for successive governments. These public services are essential to basic living standards, hygiene and life and should be reclaimed into the public domain for the benefit of all.

MR ROY SCOTT replied on Permalink

Privatisation has just lead to huge profits and big dividends to the 1%, at a huge cost to us!

These companies were all state owned, and bought and paid for by us the taxpayers!

The government had no right to sell them off!

Stuart replied on Permalink

In most of not all EU countries utilities companies and public transport are in state ownership and things work extremely well and transportation is both extremely efficient, modern in most cases and much much cheaper than here. So I’m a huge supporter of nationalisation. Although nationalised companies must be regulated by independent expert bodies to ensure public money is being spent to properly serve the taxpayer and that profits are reinvested and not syphoned off for other uses. As things stand the Tories have to go.

Simon replied on Permalink

When are people going to wake up privatisation and outsourcing does not work for our public services and ordinary hard working people it only works for the mega rich like rishi sunak and his cronies they are sucking money from ordinery people and taking the wee wee this government has to go the sooner the better.

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