Energy bills are set to soar this winter. (Photo: Yui Mok via PA Wire/PA Images)
Nearly half of Conservative voters want to renationalise energy firms to help the UK cope with the cost of living crisis, a new poll has found.
The YouGov survey for The Times found that 47 per cent of Tory supporters believe gas and electricity companies should be brought back into public ownership.
Just 28 per cent want them to remain in private hands, the poll revealed, with 25 per cent unsure.
Overall, the poll found that 61 per cent of British voters want energy renationalised, with 45 per cent believing the move would bring down bills.
Last week, Ofgem revealed that the energy price cap will rise to £3,549 in October - an 80 per cent increase from the current level.
The findings will pile fresh pressure on Tory leadership contenders Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to come up with radical solutions to the energy crisis when one of them becomes prime minister next week.
Reacting to the poll, farming minister Victoria Prentis - who is backing Sunak - said Tories backing renationalisation were “probably” wrong.
“It’s obviously a difficult time for everybody, looking at rises in energy bills and thinking how could we as a country and as a government react to those increases,” she said.
“We have seen over the years that competition in the market has kept energy prices low. The difficulty is that what a cap and what nationalisation can’t do is mean that people’s bills are cheaper than the wholesale price of gas.
“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 government is make sure that we step up and support people, particularly the most vulnerable households through this difficulty with energy bills this winter.”
Meanwhile, a separate poll by Sevanta ComRes found that one in four adults plan to never turn their heating on this winter because they cannot afford to.
Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine said: “Families and pensioners across the country are making heartbreaking decisions because the government has failed to save them.
“It is a national scandal that parents are having to choose between heating their homes and feeding their children. It shouldn’t be like this.
“Britain is on the brink of the worst cost of living crisis in a century and yet still Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will not scrap the energy price rise. It is clear energy prices must not be allowed to rise in October.
“Their refusal to cancel the energy price cap rise is leaving millions facing financial devastation.
“An economic catastrophe is now just a month away because we have a zombie government in Westminster, and two leadership contenders living on another planet.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.