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UK public doesn’t trust Government to tackle rising corruption

A new poll of citizens’ views on corruption in the UK uncovers some fascinating – and disturbing - insights into how UK citizens view corruption in this country. The Gallup/ICM Research poll conducted for Transparency International UK reveals that a majority (53%) think that corruption has increased in the last three years – with very few (3%) believing the problem is on the decline.

Although only a small minority claims to have been directly affected by corruption (14%), as many as a third say they have had their suspicions about a specific event. And, while an overwhelming majority (93%) would be willing to report corruption, only one in three say they know where to go. This suggests that corruption in the UK could be going unreported.

The poll, published today to mark International Anti-corruption Day, also reveals how little trust the public has in the UK government to tackle corruption.

More than one in three (34%) say they trust nobody to fight corruption and almost one in five (19%) don’t know who to trust to tackle it. The media is more trusted than government – with one in six trusting the media (16%) and only one in eight (12%) trusting government leaders.

This lack of confidence in the Government’s ability to stop corruption is supported by another of the survey’s findings which suggests that the public are unimpressed by, and unclear about, the Government’s performance in tackling corruption. Almost half of those polled (48%) think the Government’s actions in the fight against corruption are ineffective; around a quarter (26%) think they are effective; and another quarter (26%) don’t know.

When asked which sectors of UK public life they would rate as most corrupt - political parties were judged most corrupt. Professional sport was considered next most corrupt, with parliament a close third.

The least corrupt sectors are first the education system, second the military, next the NHS, followed by the judiciary.

The less than squeaky clean image of politicians and parliament is reinforced by the survey’s findings on what the public counts as corruption. Among eight possible examples of corrupt activity, giving a seat in the House of Lords to a businessman who was a party donor took first place in the corruption rankings – deemed potentially corrupt by 86% of those polled.

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

‘With the fall-out from last year’s MPs’ expenses scandal still fresh in people’s minds it is not surprising that politics and parliament hold on to the dubious distinction of being placed among the UK’s most corrupt sectors.

‘This has enormous implications – not only for emerging new governance arrangements across Westminster and the coalition Government’s ‘transparency agenda’ - but also for the future of the Government’s role in tackling corruption. We call on the Government to take note of the poll findings and act with urgency to build public confidence in future anti-corruption policy.’

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