The number of people in favour of nationalising Britain’s water companies has fallen substantially, according to a new survey.

The ComRes survey found only two in five (42 per cent) of British adults said they support the nationalisation of water and sewerage services in England, with 37 per cent saying they oppose it.

The new survey is in stark contrast to a poll by Populus for the Legatum Institute in September 2017, which claimed that 83 per cent of the population backed the idea of the water industry being publicly owned again.

The Labour Party has also made repeated calls for water companies to be nationalised.

But the ComRes poll also reveals that only one third (33 per cent) of the public have any confidence in a combination of local councils and trade unions running the water companies.

It also shows that nine in ten (90 per cent) adults trust their water company to provide a reliable service, with the same figure trusting companies to ensure good water quality.

And almost as many (88 per cent) said they trust their water company to take away wastewater and sewage and deal with it responsibly, and 81 per cent said they trusted their water company to fix water pipe leaks in public areas.

Around three quarters of British adults said they trust their water companies more than train companies and a similar figure (79 per cent) said they trust their water company more than energy companies.

“The high levels of trust in water companies revealed by this research chimes with the high levels of customer satisfaction that we’ve consistently seen over the years,” said Water UK chief executive, Michael Roberts.

“The country would risk losing the many improvements made to the water and sewerage service over the last three decades if it was brought into government control, and the big plans the industry has to improve the service even further in the future would be thrown into real doubt.

“That’s because experience shows that nationalised water services are not at the top of the pile for government spending, and they miss out on funding which goes instead to health, education, pensions and other priorities,” added Roberts.

“It would be a backward step which threatens the environment and puts our water quality at risk.”

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