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by Margaret Taylor
08 April 2022
Majority of Britons put sanctioning Russia above concerns about rising energy bills

Majority of Britons put sanctioning Russia above concerns about rising energy bills

The majority of Britons support economic sanctions against Russia even if it leads to higher energy prices in the UK.

A day after the UK Government published its Energy Security Strategy, polling carried out by Ipsos shows that 83 per cent of Britons are concerned about how dependant the UK is on energy imports from other countries.

A similar proportion – 82 per cent – are concerned about events such as Russia’s war in Ukraine interrupting those imports and so affecting their home energy supply.

While a large proportion – 88 per cent – said they are concerned about current energy prices, two thirds said they would still support economic sanctions against Russia if it led to higher energy prices.

A similar proportion – 62 per cent – are in favour of offering humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but just a quarter are supportive of the UK intervening with military action.

Ipsos research director Keiran Pedley said: “As war in Ukraine continues, a clear majority of the British public continue to support economic sanctions and humanitarian efforts such as supporting Ukrainian refugees.

“However, support for military intervention remains low and there are some signs that support for sanctions in the event energy prices were to rise is softening amidst concerns about the cost of living at home.”

Domestic energy prices have risen sharply in recent months, in part due to the spiralling cost of oil and gas.

Yesterday the UK Government pledged to maximise North Sea energy production at the same time as ramping up the production of cleaner energies such as nuclear and solar.

The Ipsos survey, which canvassed 1,036 adults online on 5 April, found that 53 per cent of the public support investing in nuclear energy while 51 per cent are in favour of restarting or increasing the UK’s own production of fossil fuels.

A much larger proportion – 77 per cent – support investing in other kinds of renewables, with the same proportion being in favour of reducing energy demand through improving the energy efficiency of homes and businesses.

Ipsos research director Bridget Williams said: “The current energy crisis and high cost of energy bills, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine and discussions around reliance on Russian oil and gas imports, appear to have brought issues of energy security more top of mind to the British public recently. 

“Many are concerned about energy bills now, and how these will change in the future.  The public also see increasing chances that events may cause interruptions to energy supplies in the future. 

“While many solutions to reduce our future reliance on energy imports will take time to implement, it is encouraging to see strong support for policies which improve the UK’s energy security, even if it leads to short-term pain for households through higher bills and taxes.”

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