Political and economic instability expected to negatively impact projects across the UK

Most project professionals in the UK say political instability is negatively impacting projects they’re working on.

This is according to new data from Association for Project Management (APM).

A survey of 1,000 project professionals, undertaken for APM by research company Censuswide, highlights the potential knock-on effects of the turbulent political environment, as 64% of respondents nationwide expect it to negatively impact projects they or their organisation is currently undertaking.

Over half (56%) of business owners taking part in the survey also expressed concern about the negative impact of political instability on their projects.

The survey was carried out against a backdrop of rapid change and growing political pressures, high inflation and rising energy prices.

Respondents from the construction and technology sectors were particularly concerned with 76% of respondents from each industry saying they’re concerned that the UK’s political instability will have a negative impact on projects that they or their organisation are currently working on.   Over 74% of respondents working in engineering and those managing projects in retail and leisure were concerned about the current instability.

The impact of the instability is most expectant in the north of the UK, including Leeds where 80% of respondents expecting a negative impact on their projects.

With many projects reflecting significant long-term investments, the importance of political stability cannot be overstated. This supports the finding from research undertaken by PwC on behalf of APM previously, in which more than half of the 438 organisations that took part expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK.

Respondents to the latest survey were also asked to identify their main concerns regarding project delivery. The ongoing cost of living crisis and escalating energy prices were both identified as key challenges, cited by 28% and 26% of respondents respectively.

APM has called on the government to ensure a more stable operating environment for projects. Andrew Baldwin, Head of Public Affairs at APM, said: “Political instability affects every type of project in the UK, from major initiatives tackling global issues like climate change, to more targeted projects bringing benefits to local communities and businesses.

“A forecast of recession, spiralling energy costs and uncertainty around the cost of materials and other resources will be of grave concern to those financing or sponsoring projects, as a state of limbo builds anticipation of what the future holds.

“In the worst case, this could see budget cuts to projects, reduced scope in terms of what they’re trying to achieve, or a complete cancellation to avoid uncertainty and risk.

“It is vital the Government focuses in on that instability and the next Prime Minister outlines their approach to project success, providing those who are responsible for the successful delivery of projects the stability they need to ensure success.”

Association for Project Management (APM) is the only chartered body for the project profession.