Nearly half of voters want ministers to stop telling them how much to drink and what to eat, according to research.

A YouGov poll finds 48% do not believe that the Government should provide advice on food and alcohol consumption, with just 22% who do.

Opposition is slightly higher among women, at 49%, compared with 45% of men, and is strongest among the over-60s, at 57%, but fell to 28% for 18 to 24-year-olds.

Nearly two out of three do not believe that politicians and civil servants are well equipped to take decisions on their behalf, according to the research.

The findings show that voters reject parts of the so-called nanny state, right-leaning think-tank the Adam Smith Institute, which commissioned the poll, claimed.

Institute president Madsen Pirie said: “Government has no right or mandate to single out some social groups and patronise them by restricting their free choices.

“The poll findings confirm that, despite recent economic troubles, there is still considerable self-confidence among the British, coupled with a determination to make decisions for themselves instead of having them imposed by politicians and bureaucrats.

“It is new businesses that create the jobs and the future wealth of the nation and this is a very positive indicator for the nation’s future well-being, as well as that of the young people themselves.”