Public credits private firms far more than government for the UK’s recovery

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MORE than half of the UK public credit British business with leading the country’s return to growth – while just a quarter think the government was responsible.

In a blow to politicians of all parties but especially the coalition, a major new survey released by Edelman today finds that 52 per cent of Brits believe business is responsible for recent improvements in the economy, against a mere 25 per cent who credit the government.

The results also reveal that while trust in business has stayed constant over the past year, confidence in the media and government has slumped even further.

In total, 56 per cent of people say they trust business, the same proportion as a year earlier.

In comparison, trust in the media fell from 47 per cent to 41 per cent, while trust in the institution of government fell from 47 to 42 per cent.

“The big story is the gap between business and government, with fewer people trusting the government than last year, and firms getting twice as much credit for recent growth,” said Ed Williams, CEO of Edelman.

The gulf between the reputations of business and government is even wider in the US. Now 58 per cent of US respondents trust companies generally, while only 37 per cent say the same of government, following the lengthy federal shutdown late last year.

The global gap has widened to 14 percentage points, the biggest since the survey began in 2009.

Damage was done to the energy industry by negative news in the UK, however, with the sector’s figure down from 38 to 32 per cent. The same share trust banks, an improvement from 29 per cent last year.

Despite people still being down on banks, the reputation of financial services more generally looks to be making a modest recovery: the proportion of people with confidence in the sector has jumped from 34 to 44 per cent in the same period.