Edelman Trust Barometer reveals distrust of UK government and business

A deepening sense of distrust in both government and business has emerged among the British public during the past year, according to Edelman's Trust Barometer.

Ed Williams: Edelman UK chief executive
Ed Williams: Edelman UK chief executive
The UK research, which is published today, suggests that trust in UK government and business is down on a year ago. Just 29% of people expressed confidence that government is doing the right thing, with only slightly more people (38%) trusting in business.

Even NGOs were trusted by a mere 42% of the general public.

While 71% of people said it was important that the country’s financial affairs were managed effectively, only 12% thought this was happening – an ‘underperformance gap’ of 59 points.

Edelman UK chief executive Ed Williams said: ‘There is a chasm between the public’s expectations of government and what they think is actually being delivered. The public simply don’t believe politicians tell the truth, and the vast majority (68%) think the country is on the wrong track.’

UK CEOs face a major hurdle in convincing the public that they deserve a hearing: they were the least credible public spokesperson for a business or organisation, with only 30 per cent of respondents finding them credible.

More credible were academics or experts (by 73%), a ‘person like yourself’ (60%), a technical expert (56%), or a ‘regular employee’ or ‘financial/industry analyst’ (55%).

Globally, blame for the financial and political chaos of 2011 landed at the doorstep of government, as trust in that institution fell a record nine points to 43%. In 17 of the 25 countries surveyed, government is now trusted by less than half to do what is right.

The Edelman Trust Barometer was produced by research firm StrategyOne and consisted of 20-minute online interviews conducted from 10 October 10 to 30 November 2011.

The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer online survey sampled 25,000 general population respondents, with an oversample of 5,600 ‘informed publics’ in two age groups (25-34 and 35-64) across 25 countries. The UK survey sampled 1,000 adults 18+ and 200 ‘informed publics’.

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