Trust in Pillars of Society Plummets, but Businesses out on Top


The British peoples’ trust in their government, media, charities, and business has tumbled over the last year, a key survey has shown. However, of the three, businesses found more favour.

Trust in the British government, already low at the start of 2016 on 36 per cent, tumbled further to 26 per cent by the start of this year. Trust in the British media fell even further during the year, from 36 per cent to 24 per cent.

Trust in businesses took a similar tumble but from a higher base, from 46 per cent in 2016 to 33 per cent, while charities fell below the private sector, diminishing from 50 per cent last year to 32 per cent.

The findings come in the annual trust barometer survey by PR firm Edelman, which for the first time has published a separate British supplement posing questions to 1,500 UK residents between 23 December and 7 January, The Guardian has reported.

In a separate question, the prime minister, Theresa May, was found to inspire trust in 35 per cent of Brits, but this puts her ahead of both her opposition rival, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is trusted by just 23 per cent.

Trust in the Prime minister was also ahead of the so-called “three Brexiteers” — Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Secretary for Exiting the EU David Davis, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who scored 26 per cent, 24 per cent, and 20 per cent respectively.

In further good news for May, her Conservative Party scored most highly when Brits were asked who they trusted “to do what is right”, with 28 per cent (down 10 points on 2016) against Labour’s 25 per cent (down six points).

Fewer than one in five said they trusted political parties generally “to do what is right”, however, with similar figures for political leaders, 27 per cent for the EU, and 55 per cent for the British people.

Perhaps best trusted were respondents own families, who scored a healthy 88 per cent.

Ed Williams, chief executive of Edelman UK, said: “If we thought 2016 was bad, 2017 could be far worse. The virus that has understandably destroyed trust among those who feel let down by the system has now obviously spread. Even those who got richer after the financial crisis exhibit declining trust in the key pillars of society – politicians, business leaders, NGOs and the media.”

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