MPs say communications on major infrastructure are failing the public

A survey of MPs shows that the infrastructure sector needs to communicate better to the public.

Around half of MPs say that the government and other promoters of major infrastructure have failed to communicate the importance of major infrastructure programmes to the public, a new poll has found.

The YouGov poll, commissioned by specialist communications consultancy BECG, surveyed a cross-party group of 100 MPs and found that around 40% of Conservative MPs believe communication has been “ineffective” in engaging the public in vital projects from nationwide full fibre broadband to transport for regional cities.

The poll comes on the day that the government announces its centre piece National Infrastructure Strategy and ahead of the much-anticipated energy white paper and follows the prime minister’s ten-point green plan unveiled last week.

The poll also revealed that more than 75% of MPs thought that more information would reduce public concerns, while 20% of MPs believe that people understand the benefits of infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, 37% of MPs believed that the public did not understand the benefits of major infrastructure projects.

Ally Kennedy, board director at BECG, said: “Our poll shows that there has been a collapse in confidence among MPs of all parties on engagement with the public in major infrastructure projects. Meeting this challenge is crucial if the government is to restore public confidence and support for these projects. This is critical to achieving the government’s stated policy of ‘levelling up’ the country post-Covid and post-Brexit, particularly in the so-called ‘red wall’ areas in the north and The Midlands where the government is determined to focus its efforts.”

The government’s National Infrastructure Strategy is likely to respond to several recommended targets for the UK, including: -

  • For half of the UK’s power to be sourced from renewables by 2030;
  • £43bn of stable long-term transport funding for regional cities; 
  • Nationwide full-fibre broadband by 2023; and 
  • Infrastructure to support close to 100% of new electric vehicle sales by 2030.

The BECG-commissioned YouGov poll interviewed a representative sample of 100 MPs (38 Conservative, 43 Labour) online from 13-31 October 2020.

Click here to download the full results of the MPs' poll.

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