When it comes to nationalisation Labour are mainstream, finds report

A new Populus poll for the Legatum Institute indicates big support for nationalisation of key industries.

At this week’s Labour party conference, Jeremy Corbyn used his closing speech to say that “We are the mainstream now," as reported by the BBC.

In June’s snap election, the party increased its share of the vote by almost ten percentage points, won thirty seats and reduced the Conservative majority government to a minority one. The election suggests that Labour is on the move, but is the party the new “mainstream”?

When it comes to the nationalisation of some of the UK’s key industries, the new Populus/Legatum poll suggests that they are.

The poll, conducted for the Public Opinion in the Post-Brexit Era report, found that when it came to the water, electricity, gas, rail and defence and the aerospace industry, six and ten or more supported nationalisation.

For water, a whopping 83% backed nationalisation while the figure was 77% for electricity. A further 77% said they would like to see gas nationalised while 76% said the same for British trains. In addition, 66% favoured nationalisation of the defence and aerospace industry.

The Labour party’s 2017 manifesto supported “the creation of publicly owned, locally accountable energy companies and co-operatives to rival existing private energy suppliers, with at least one if every region.” It also supported bringing “private rail companies back into public ownership as their franchises expire.”


The findings certainly show that the idea is not some hard-left fantasy, and that support for such measures not only exists, but is strong. On top of that, a majority of each age group polled support nationalisation of each noted industry.

However, when it came to the issue of nationalising banks, the report found that the poll’s sample was split 50%-50%. Furthermore, for shipbuilding, food distribution and retailing, mobile phone networks, airlines, car manufacturing and travel agents, the vast majority of respondents said they favoured such industries to remain in the private sector.               

That all said, in a bitter-sweet result for Labour, on the issue of austerity, the poll found that a net score of +12% favoured the continuation of the economic doctrine. However, the report also found that most people favoured higher taxes, bigger government and more spending, something which goes against the continuation of austerity, suggesting a contradiction in what the public actually wants.

Polls have tended to show that most people favour the nationalisation of such key government industries, but this new report, released ahead of the Tory conference, could give Labour a boost.

The full post-Brexit report for the Legatum Institute by Matthew Elliot and James Kanagasooriam, can be accessed here. Further details on Populus can be read here.