Political scandals hinder UK fight against corruption

Issued by Transparency International UK

Repeated political corruption scandals are responsible for the UK’s continuing failure to achieve a top ten ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, released today.

The 2012 Index ranks the UK at 17 – jointly with Japan – with a score of 74 out of 100. The index scores 176 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption.

Several recent scandals in the UK have exposed serious fault lines in the country’s political system, raising particular concerns about:

“Despite the passing of the Bribery Act, and measures to improve transparency in government, the perception of experts is that the UK continues to be more vulnerable to corruption than the political establishment is willing to admit. The UK is struggling to remain in the top 20, let alone achieve a place in the top 10.” said Chandu Krishnan, Executive Director of Transparency International UK. “The steady stream of political scandals has exposed a worrying complacency at the heart of UK politics. Until the Government acts with urgency to put a cap on party funding and introduce tougher regulation of lobbying and the revolving door, the UK will not be able to rise higher in global anti-corruption league tables.”

Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 - International results

Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 shows corruption continues to ravage societies around the world.

Two thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable.

Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tie for first place with scores of 90, helped by strong access to information systems and rules governing the behaviour of those in public positions.

Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia once again cling to the bottom rung of the index. In these countries the lack of accountable leadership and effective public institutions underscore the need to take a much stronger stance against corruption.

Underperformers in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 also include the Eurozone countries most affected by the financial and economic crisis. Transparency International has consistently warned Europe to address corruption risks in the public sector to tackle the financial crisis, calling for strengthened efforts to corruption-proof public institutions.


This year Transparency International has updated the methodology for the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012. To reflect this, the Corruption Perceptions Index is presented on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption

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