Public ownership is popular

Most of us want to see public ownership across a range of public services, from water to energy, from the NHS to the Royal Mail.
Polling clearly shows that public ownership is very popular. In fact, it's popularity is growing. According to YouGov, between 2017 and 2019, support for public ownership increased, with well over half of the population now supporting public ownership of the NHS, schools, prisons, utilities and public transport.


  • 55% want buses in public ownership (YouGov, 2019)
  • 73% want public transport to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020)
  • 57% want councils to be allowed to set up new public bus companies - 22% oppose this (Survation, 2016)

Council services

  • 55% want to see more services run in-house by councils (Survation, 2017)
  • 61% of the public think that local and central government should try to run services in-house first – before outsourcing (Survation, 2015)
  • 80% believe that when a public service is put out to tender, there should always be an in-house bid (Survation, 2013)
  • 64% distrust outsourcing companies, while only 21% trust them - compared to NHS (79%), the police (65%) and the armed forces (79%) (Survation, 2014)



  • 60% want energy in public ownership, compared to just 17% who oppose it (ComRes, 2021)
  • 63% want utilities to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020)

National assets

  • 49% want the Green Investment Bank in public ownership - only 20% wanted it to be privatised (Survation, 2015)
  • 70% want the Land Registry in public ownership (Survation, 2015)
  • 60% want National Air Traffic Services in public ownership (Survation, 2015)


  • 84% want the NHS in public ownership (YouGov, 2017)
  • 82% think healthcare should mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020)
  • 65% of the public would not feel comfortable using GP services provided by a private company like Atos, Capita, G4S or Serco (Survation, 2014)
  • 74% want hospitals in public ownership (YouGov, 2015)
  • 77% of the public believe the NHS should be maintained in its current form. This level of support has remained consistent over almost two decades despite widespread social, economic and political change. (KingsFund, 2017)
  • 90% of people support the founding principles of the NHS, indicating that these principles are just as relevant today as when the NHS was established. (KingsFund, 2017)



  • 62% want prisons in public ownership (YouGov, 2015)
  • 28% of people think it is appropriate for private companies to run prisons
  • 25% think it is appropriate for private companies to provide court services (Survation, 2014)


Royal Mail

  • 69% want the Royal Mail in public ownership (YouGov, 2019)

Social care

  • 64% want social care in public ownership (Survation, 2020)
  • 61% think private care providers prioritise profit over delivering a high quality service (Survation, 2020)


Photo credit: Garry Knight

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