Half of voters ‘wouldn’t trust leaders with £10’

Fewer than half of voters would trust political leaders such as David Cameron to return a loan of ten pounds, a new survey says. Picture: PA

Fewer than half of voters would trust political leaders such as David Cameron to return a loan of ten pounds, a new survey says. Picture: PA

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FEWER than half of voters trust any of the main political party leaders enough to lend them a tenner, according to a survey.

Asked if they would expect to get back a £10 note lent to a party leader, just 49 per cent said Prime Minister David Cameron would return it, against 48 per cent for Labour leader Ed Miliband and 44 per cent for Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The figure was 40 per cent for Ukip’s Nigel Farage and 35 per cent for Scottish National Party chief Nicola Sturgeon.

With the general election just months away, none of the political parties has established a lead on trust, and voter trust in every party has fallen over the past year, according to the annual Trust Barometer survey conducted by public relations firm Edelman.

When voters were asked which party they would trust “to do what is right”, Conservatives, Labour and Greens were neck-and-neck on 36 per cent, with Tories down one point, Labour down five and Greens down two since a similar survey last year.

They were ahead of Ukip on 27 per cent (down two), Liberal Democrats on 25 per cent (down six), the SNP on 20 per cent (down three) and Plaid Cymru on 15 per cent (down seven).

London mayor Boris Johnson came out top when participants were asked which individual politicians they trusted to do the right thing, on 39 per cent (down four), ahead of Mr Cameron on 34 per cent (up one), Mr Miliband on 29 per cent (down four), Mr Farage on 28 per cent (up three) and Mr Clegg on 23 per cent (down four).

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Some 66 per cent said they would trust Mr Johnson to “speak his mind” and 61 per cent said the same of Mr Farage. But when asked if they could be trusted to “communicate honestly”, scores plummeted to 42 per cent for the London mayor and 31 per cent for the Ukip leader.

Edelman said the UK was languishing in the “trust doldrums”, with trust in Government rising by just one point to 43 per cent over the past year, while trust in business fell four points to 52 per cent, with the media dropping three points to 38 per cent and non-governmental agencies such as charities sliding 16 points to 51 per cent.

With average trust in its major institutions below 50 per cent, Edelman classed the UK in a group of countries it terms “the distrusters”, alongside Italy, South Africa, Poland and Russia. Top of the Edelman ranking for countries with the most trusted institutions were the United Arab Emirates, India, Indonesia and China, while Ireland and Japan were bottom.

“Key institutions in the UK such as government, media and business have had a better year than previous years, but that has not been converted into increased levels of trust,” said Edelman’s UK and Ireland chief executive Ed Williams.

“There is no doubt that we are stuck in a rut.There is a real danger that the years of continuing low trust have permanently rewired our attitudes towards the institutions that shape our lives. It is becoming increasingly difficult for us to navigate out of the trust doldrums.”

• Edelman questioned 33,000 people in 27 countries between October 13 and November 24 for the Trust Barometer, including 1,000 in the UK.

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