Its Trust Barometer for 2007 – being presented this week by its president and CEO Richard Edelman at the World Economic Forum in Davos – showed that Britons’ trust in government has halved from 33 per cent in 2006 to 16 per cent in 2007.
‘We surveyed 18 countries this year, and the one with the most profound change is Britain,’ confirms Edelman.
He said the British government had experienced a ‘profound fall from grace’, citing Iraq, public-transport infrastructure and healthcare provision as issues that are undermining trust.
Public trust in NGOs and business also dropped dramatically in the past year.
Only 41 per cent of respondents said they trusted NGOs, down from 56 per cent last year. The decline of trust in business was less profound, with 44 per cent saying they trusted businesses, down from 53 per cent in 2006.
The media also suffered a slight decline in trust, from 22 per cent in 2006 to 19 per cent in 2007.
‘For the first time we’ve found that NGOs are trusted less than business,’ Edelman said. He blamed ‘the tsunami effect’, adding: ‘There is a sense that NGOs could have done better with tsunami relief. The tsunami was their big chance – when you’re on the stage you’ve gotta sing the song, and in some senses it wasn’t sung well.’
In total, 3,100 ‘opinion leaders’ were quizzed worldwide, including 150 in the UK. In all 18 countries polled, business was more trusted than government.