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UK: Poor corruption rating puts UK at risk of slipping below top 20

The UK’s showing in international corruption ratings took a turn for the worse today with the publication of Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

This year’s CPI ranks 178 countries - including the UK – according to the perceived levels of corruption among public officials and politicians, as assessed by international experts and institutions. It scores countries on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is perceived to be highly corrupt and 10 indicates low levels of corruption.

The UK scores 7.6 – its all-time-lowest rating - marginally down on last year’s 7.7 score and substantially down from its score of 8.6 four years ago. The UK now ranks 20th out of 178.

This is the third year that the UK has continued to slide down the CPI rankings despite improvements in some other anti-corruption indicators - progress on enforcing the OECD Anti-bribery Convention for instance, and the passing of the new UK Bribery Act.

According to Transparency International UK, the score reflects previous criticism of the UK by the OECD’s influential Working Group on Bribery and the impact of the MPs’ expenses scandal on international opinion of the UK political establishment.

Other significant changes in the 2010 CPI include Qatar moving into the top 20 for the first time, and the US slipping out of the top 20 into 22nd place, just below improving Chile.

Chandrashekhar Krishnan, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, said:

'This is the leading global index of corruption, and the UK is now seriously at risk of dropping out of the top 20. Yet it should be aspiring to be within the top ten. How else can the UK’s calls for better governance in developing countries be taken seriously?

‘A reputation for probity is vital to exercising influence on the international stage and in conducting business successfully. This strengthens the case for the UK’s new Bribery Act to be properly enforced, and sends a warning signal to the Government that there should be no dilution of the Bribery Act or further delay in its commencement. It is also a reminder that the MPs’ expenses scandal has had a bigger and longer-lasting impact on domestic and international opinion than politicians had hoped. What matters now is for Parliament to embrace a new culture of transparency and accountability – in addition to the new rules on MPs’ expenses.’

Table of CPI scores and country rankings is attached.

For comment on the global picture painted by the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index click here.

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