Britons really don't trust business - even when it comes to economic growth

Catherine Neilan
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Brits are really not loving the business community right now (Source: Getty)

Corporate responsibility might be here to stay, but it's doing very little to improve Britons' faith in their business leaders.

Less than a third of Britons (31 per cent) trust business - making it the third lowest ranking among the 22 countries surveyed by Ipsos Mori for its latest Global Trends Report. Only people in South Korea (28 per cent) and France (27 per cent) had less faith.

Meanwhile, not even a quarter of us (24 per cent) felt they could trust business leaders to tell the truth. To put that into perspective, even satisfaction in the government ranks higher (26 per cent).

Britons are also the least likely people in the world to feel we can trust businesses to improve the economic and social conditions of our community (32 per cent). And more than a third of people said they didn't even trust business to produce domestic economic growth.

The survey also revealed where our aspirations lie in 2017 - and it's clear we've had enough of the "work-hard, play-hard" mentality (or even just the "work-hard, go home to bed" one).

Just 33 per cent of people think life fulfilment comes from your job with 85 per cent of us saying it's more important to have a good work-life balance than a successful career.

But we are particularly downbeat about our lives when compared to our parents. Just 11 per cent of us think our children are more likely to own a home than our parents - putting us at the bottom of the table. Only marginally more - 13 per cent - think we will be safer from crime and harm, while less than a fifth of us (19 per cent) think we will be able to live comfortably when we retire.

Ipsos Mori chief executive Ben Page said: "There is a growing gulf between the generations in terms of opportunities, there is a sense of pessimism about the future in western Europe and there are increasing demands on our time leading to a battle for attention. Understanding the manifestations of that seems ever more vital for business and politicians.

“In Britain we are generally feeling pretty gloomy at the moment. We are the most pessimistic country in the world when it comes to the future of our healthcare – less than one in 10 (eight per cent) think we will see the quality of healthcare in Britain improve in the coming years. We are also the least likely to think our chances of owning our own homes is better than our parents and our trust in business is at rock bottom."

But while our faith in the corporate world might be particularly low, it is not completely at odds with a general distrust of the higher-ups felt around the world.

Bobby Duffy, managing director of the Ipsos Mori Social Research Institute, said: "There is a very clear and growing sense that regular people feel they are being left behind by establishment and political elites that don’t understand or care about them... It is the majority view in every single country in the study that the economy is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful. This is even the case in Sweden, which typically feels more at ease with itself."

Duffy added: "There is an interesting global pattern here. Unlike other trends in this volume, we don’t see an ‘old’ versus ‘new’ world split. There is no ‘multipolar’ view on how power is rigged against ordinary people – it’s one of the few globally unifying trends."

Read more: Reinforcing trust in UK money markets will be to the benefit of everyone

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