More than half of the public would support renationalising energy companies, polling reveals

More than half of the public have said they would support renationalising energy companies after a week which has seen the industry descend into crisis.

New polling by Opinium, seen by i, found more than 50 per cent of the public would back taking energy companies compared to just ten per cent who are against it.

It comes as more than a million people found themselves without an energy supplier in a matter of days after soaring wholesale prices saw companies collapse.

The polling of 2001 respondents was carried out between 22 and 23 September and weighted to represent the national population.

Asked to what extent they would support bringing energy companies back into public ownership, 53 per cent said they would – including 29 per cent who said they strongly back the proposal.

This compared to 12 per cent who opposed the measure. Some 23 per cent were indifferent and nine per cent responded that they did not know.

Labour for a Green New Deal – the group taking a socialist climate motion to Labour conference this weekend – have said the polling results vindicate their calls for Sir Keir Starmer to back a more radical climate policy.

Renationalising energy companies was included in the party’s 2019 manifesto under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, when Labour suffered its worst election defeat in decades.

But Labour for a Green New Deal co-founder Chris Saltmarsh argued that the recent energy crisis has drawn attention to the failings of private industry.

“The national polling result here should give everyone in the Labour Party full confidence that energy nationalisation can be a part of our route to victory in 2024. Furthermore, the figures on Labour support suggest that this could now be a consensus view across the party,” he said.

“And no wonder: it’s a common-sense policy that can fight climate change and bring down bills for working people. 

“The current energy crisis should help bring that last point home. Private utilities companies are failing and households’ bills are set to skyrocket, as those very companies attempt to protect their profits”

The soaring price of wholesale gas has seen more than half a dozen firms collapse in the last two months.

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Around 1.5 million people have been left without a provider in the UK and the Government has been accused of not acting fast enough to protect consumers.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has previously said the Government is protecting customers through the energy price cap and ruled out bailing out failed energy companies.

Experts have warned that, with the next price cap review, annual energy bills could rise by as much as £500.

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