Politics

'Red Wall' voters overwhelmingly back nationalised energy and rail, poll finds


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A Survation survey for the anti-privatisation group We Own It found the vast majority back public running of water, energy, rail, buses, NHS and Royal Mail

Boris Johnson in the control centre training area at a nuclear power station
Boris Johnson in the control centre training area at a nuclear power station

‘Red Wall’ voters who helped Boris Johnson win power overwhelmingly back nationalising energy firms, rail and buses, polling suggests.

A Survation survey found the vast majority supported public running of water, energy, rail, buses, NHS, and Royal Mail.

The pollster questioned 1,015 adults in 44 seats in the Midlands and northern England that switched from Labour to Tory in 2019.

Voters were asked if they thought “the following services should be run in the private sector or the public sector”.

After a £693-a-year rise in the energy bills price cap and Tory wranglings over a windfall tax on oil giants, 68% said energy should be publicly-run.

Just 20% said the sector should carry on being in private hands.

Of those polled, 70% said water should be in the public sector compared to 18% who said it should be privately-run.







Voters in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ helped Boris Johnson win his majority
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Image:

Getty Images)

On buses, 67% said they should be publicly-run like in London while 22% said they should be run privately.

And 68% backed public running of railways, 80% the NHS, 68% Royal Mail.

Anti-privatisation group We Own It, one of a string of campaign groups that commissioned the survey, said more than three-quarters of voters backed nationalising the industries after ‘don’t know’ replies were excluded.

We Own It director Cat Hobbs said: “Privatisation has failed. Decade after decade, we’ve watched our essential utilities and services get worse while costing us more.

“People are disgusted at the cost of a train ticket, the cuts to bus services, the raw sewage in our rivers and seas – while a handful of shareholders profit.

“The political choice to ignore public ownership means people are now going hungry and unable to heat their homes as energy bills go through the roof.







Boris Johnson on a train from Manchester to Warrington
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Image:

Manchester Evening News)

“It doesn’t have to be this way. In France, public ownership means rises are only 4% and Norway’s permanent windfall tax means 80% of bills are paid for above a capped price.

“This polling shows that public ownership is supported by the vast majority of people.”

Results from the same poll claimed 44% of Red Wall voters would be more likely to vote Tory if Boris Johnson pledged to implement a four-day, 32-hour working week with no loss of pay.

Joe Ryle, Director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said: “The four-day week with no loss of pay is a win-win for workers and employers.

“If the Conservative Party wants to embrace the future of work and win votes in the red wall then they should be seriously considering supporting a four-day week.

“Overworked and stressed British workers are desperate for a better work-life balance after the pandemic.”

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