MPs reveal their shifting priorities as pandemic eases

The Covid-19 pandemic is MPs’ number one concern, although they are increasingly interested in social care, education and housing issues, latest polling has found.

The figures have been revealed by market researchers nfpSynergy and give charity lobbyists a strong indication of MPs’ shifting priorities as the pandemic eases.

The research compared 100 MPs’ top priorities between summer this year and 2020. The MPs were asked to list four issues that look set to top their agenda over the next 12 months.

This saw interest in Covid-19 issues increase to become the top priority, cited by 51% of MPs this year, compared to 50% last year.

In contrast MP interest in last year's top issue, the economy, has slumped. While 55% of MPs mentioned the economy as a key concern in 2020, this fell to 41% when asked this summer.

Other areas to see falling interest across between 2021 and 2020 are immigration, down from 12% to 11% and Brexit, which is listed by just 16% of MPs as a priority this year, compared to 32% last year.

Interest in employment issues has also fallen, from 51% to 28 per cent and health services is cited as a priority by 19% of MPs, compared to 23% last year.

Areas to climb up the agenda include housing, which is now a concern for 30% of MPs, compared to 13% last year.

nfpsynergy says that increasing interest in housing is likely to have been fuelled by the pandemic highlighting “the inadequacies and inconsistencies across the housing sector”.

Social care is a rising concern, cited by 17% of MPs this year, compared to less than one in ten (9%) last year.

Despite social care funding emerging as a key issue this month, it is still failing to emerge as one of four main priorities for MPs, nfpSynergy points out.

“Social care suffers from the combined problem that it is an area that affects a minority of the population – predominantly the older demographic - coupled with the fact that it is an expensive problem to solve,” says the market researcher

Meanwhile education has also seen a boost, listed by 18% of MPs this year, compared to 13% last year.

MP interest in green issues has remained the same at 16% over the year, the survey also found.

Despite dramatic climate challenges globally this year across Europe in particular, “the UK parliament is, however, yet to reflect the urgency of the situation”.

“Given that most protest and mobilisation efforts have had to cease, and the existential (or not quite so existential) threat of climate change has been replaced by the very immediate menace of the pandemic, it is perhaps unsurprising that the green agenda has slipped from the political radar,” nfpSynergy says.

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