Nearly HALF of Tory voters support renationalising Britain’s energy industry, poll finds – but minister says they’re ‘probably wrong’ and insists ‘competition has kept prices low’
- YouGov poll finds 47% of Tory voters in favour of renationalising energy firms
- Survey reveals extent to which households are set to suffer from soaring bills
- Government minister Victoria Prentis insists public ownership would be ‘wrong’
Nearly half of Tory voters support the renationalisation of Britain’s energy industry in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, a new poll has found.
According to a YouGov survey, 47 per cent of those who intend to vote Conservative at the next election are in favour of returning energy companies to public ownership.
This compares to 28 per cent of Tory voters who are opposed to renationalisation, and 25 per cent who are not sure.
But, despite the poll results, Government minister Victoria Prentis today insisted those who want energy companies to be publicly owned again were ‘probably’ wrong.
She insisted that overhauling the structure of the energy market would not help struggling families as they face huge rises in their energy costs this winter.
Gas and electricity bills for a typical household are rising to £3,549 a year on 1st October.
And it is widely expected that average bills will soar even further in the coming months, with one estimate suggesting they could even reach an eye-watering £7,600 a year from April.
According to a YouGov survey, 47 per cent of those who intend to vote Conservative at the next election are in favour of returning energy companies to public ownership
Gas and electricity costs for a typical household are rising to £3,549 a year on 1st October. And it is widely expected that average bills will soar even further in the coming months
Whoever replaces Boris Johnson replacement as Prime Minister – either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak – will come under huge pressure to announce more support for struggling families as soon as they enter Downing Street.
The YouGov poll revealed the extent to which households are set to suffer in the coming months.
More than half of respondents (55 per cent) said they would expect to turn their heating lower than they normally would this winter, or put it on for fewer hours.
One-fifth (21 per cent) said they expected not to be able to heat their homes, except on a limited basis, and five per cent said they expected they would not be able to heat their homes at all.
Nearly half (47 per cent) said they expected to be able to afford the increase in energy bills, but only if they made cuts elsewhere in their spending.
A quarter (25 per cent) said they would not be able to afford the rise in gas and electricity costs, even if they made cuts elsewhere in their outgoings.
Labour, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, supported the nationalisation of rail, mail, water and energy companies before the 2019 general election.
Experts estimated the cost of Labour’s policy would be £196billion.
But Mr Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, recently ditched the party’s pledge to bring utilities back into public ownership.
He has proposed freezing the energy price cap at its current level – before the rise in October – of £1,971, at an estimated cost of £29billion.
Government minister Victoria Prentis insisted those who want energy companies to be publicly owned again are ‘probably’ wrong
The YouGov poll, conducted for The Times, found almost four-fiths (79 per cent) of Labour voters currently support nationalising energy companies, compared to just six per cent who are opposed.
When voters’ choices at the last general election were taken into account, more than half of those who voted Tory in 2019 (53 per cent) support bringing the energy companies back into public ownership.
This compared to 81 per cent of Labour voters from 2019 who wanted electricity and gas firms to be nationalised.
Asked if Tory voters were ‘wrong’ to support the renationalisation of energy companies, Ms Prentis – who is backing Mr Sunak in the Tory leadership race – told Sky News this morning: ‘I think they probably are.
‘It’s obviously a difficult time for everybody looking at rises in energy bills and thinking “how could we as a country and a Government react to those increases?”.
‘We have seen over the years that competition in the market has kept energy prices low.
‘But, of course, what a cap and nationalisation can’t do is mean people’s bills are cheaper than the wholesale price of gas.
‘So I don’t feel there is more in the way that we structure our system that would really help.
‘What we have to do now as a Government is make sure we step up and support people, particularly the most vulnerable households, through this difficulty with energy bills this winter.
‘But the blame should be put, fairly and squarely, on Vladimir Putin I’m afraid. These bills are rising because of the war.’
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