Tuesday, January 19, 2016

“Tale of Two Britains”

A gulf in levels of trust in Government, business and media has emerged between the haves and have-nots in British society, an influential annual survey of public attitudes has revealed. The Edelman Trust Barometer, which divided respondents into the “Informed Publics” (university-educated, high earners with a declared interest in politics and news) and the rest, found that the disparity in trust levels between the two groups had doubled in a year. Among the wealthier and better-educated there was a 57 per cent trust in British institutions, but among poorer respondents this fell to 40 per cent. 

The findings told a “Tale of Two Britains”, said Ed Williams, the UK CEO of Edelman, the global communications company which conducts the annual survey. “Better-off Britons see it as almost the best of times; those who have suffered more through austerity see it as closer to being the worst of times.”

The study showed that among “high net worth individuals” (a subset of the Informed Publics earning more than £100,000 and with over £650,000 in liquid assets) trust in Government is at 54 per cent, compared to 26 per cent for those with household incomes of under £15,000.

Expectations are that the gulf between rich and poor, and the disparity in attitudes of the two groups, will grow wider in 2016. Only 10 per cent of low income households anticipate that their circumstances will have improved in a year’s time, and 44 per cent believe they will be worse off. By contrast, 90 per cent of high net worth individuals believe their circumstances will be maintained or will improve.

Trust in business is surging among the educated and wealthy. Some 60 per cent of the Informed Publics group expressed confidence in business, compared to 52 per cent last year and 37 per cent in the immediate wake of the financial crisis of 2008. Among high net worth individuals, trust levels rose to 67 per cent. This compared to 35 per cent of people in low income households. When respondents were asked what businesses should do to improve trust, the most popular response was “paying expected levels of tax”, followed by “responsible behaviour” and “increased transparency”.

Should we be surprised by the research that the wealthier you are the more you support the system. With pets if you pamper them, feed them and pat and stroke them then they trust you. If you are mean and kick them and starve them and make their lives miserable and insecure then they have no trust.

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