A new survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of GLIL Infrastructure, a £1.8bn investment fund backed by UK local government pension schemes, has revealed that the British public are in the dark about the economic impact of several recent and ongoing major infrastructure projects.
image: for illustration purposes only
GLIL Infrastructure has called on the UK government to better inform the public of the value of national and regional infrastructure projects…
Infrastructure intelligence writes:
Seizing on the research, GLIL Infrastructure has called on the UK government to better inform the public of the value of national and regional infrastructure projects and their benefits to local communities, as the country begins to rebuild its economy post Covid-19.
The study surveyed 2,015 people from across Britain on their views about infrastructure investment. Participants were asked to consider a number of prominent national and regional infrastructure projects, ranging from HS2 to the Gatwick Airport Pier 6 extension, and whether they have had a positive or negative impact on the economy, or no real impact either way.
With the exception of HS2, the majority of respondents were unsure whether the infrastructure projects had had a substantially positive or negative impact, selecting ‘don’t know’ as their response.
‘Don’t know’ also came out top in the regional breakdown for the areas individual projects were based, except for with Crossrail, for which the most popular response (34%) among London participants was ‘positive impact’.
Overall, respondents believe HS2 has had a ‘negative impact’ (39%). The Channel Tunnel interconnector (pictured below) solicited the most positive response, although only 20% of respondents say it has had a positive impact on the economy (20%). Crossrail and the Transpennine Route Upgrade both received positive responses of 18%.
After HS2, the infrastructure projects most deemed to have had a negative impact on the economy were Crossrail (15%) and the Gatwick Airport Pier 6 extension (12%).
The survey also asked participants to identify how important each type of infrastructure was to them, including road, rail, airports, energy, renewable energy, utilities and telecommunications. Investment in renewable energy came out on top, described as ‘very important’ by the largest proportion of respondents (62%), followed by utilities (43%). Respondents were least likely to consider investment in airports to be very important, with 40% describing investment in airports as either ‘not very important’ (32%) or ‘not at all important’ (8%).
When asked where they think the majority of UK infrastructure investment should come from, almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents said the UK government. Outside of the government, private investors (6%) are who the public think should provide the biggest contribution to investment, followed by sovereign wealth funds (2%). Over a quarter (27%) said they were unsure where the majority of UK infrastructure investment should come from.