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.”