No senior banking executive has been jailed in the UK despite evidence
that financial sector fraud has risen since 2008
UK crisis: Corruption levels soaring since 2008 financial crash
by Jo Edwards
A shocking two thirds of Britons believe corruption in the UK has drastically increased over the past two years according to a new global corruption survey.
Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is the world's largest public opinion survey on corruption, and has revealed that one in twenty Britons admit to having paid an official a bribe in the last 12 months.
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The survey also reveals that as many as 90 percent of Britons believe the country to be run by “a few big entities acting in their own best interests”.
Respondents also believed that official anti-corruption safeguards have drastically deteriorated since the 2008 world financial crash and subsequent economic decline.
The parts of British society viewed as most corrupt are the media and politicians, according to 69 percent and 66 percent of respondents respectively; with the police, the judiciary, parliament and public officials closely following. Notably, religious institutions are seen as the least corrupt despite revelations of the systemic cover up of child abuse within the Catholic church.
Transparency International said its annual survey shows a crisis of trust in politics and real concern about the capacity of institutions responsible for bringing criminals to justice. "It is the actors that are supposed to be running countries and upholding the rule of law that are seen as the most corrupt, judged to be abusing their positions of power and acting in their own interests rather than for citizens they are there to represent and serve," said the global corruption barometer, which surveyed 114,000 people in 107 countries.
Britain has been “complacent about corruption,” and needs to “accept there is a problem in the UK rather than claiming it is only a problem overseas,” said Robert Barrington, executive director of Transparency International UK.
The shocking findings are in line with a recent Scottish Times reader survey, which showed 94 percent of respondents believed that the UK government was too close to big business, with 5 percent answering 'no', and 1 percent ‘don't know’. When asked whether there was a crime epidemic across the UK banking sector, 79 percent answered 'yes' with 7 percent responding 'no' and 14 percent 'don't know'.
Such findings reveal a marked decline in trust in many UK institutions since the 2008 financial crash – with few of those involved being held to account.
Recent scandals such as market rigging, 'cash for questions' , aggressive lobbying tactics and political party donations related to tax avoidance, are but a few actions that have gone largely unpunished.
These scandals continue to emerge despite comments by Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney describing the financial regulatory system post 2008 as having a 'solid framework' - an outlook clearly not shared by the population.
When asked by the Scottish Times about why the SNP planned to keep the pound after a ‘yes’ vote in Scotland’s referendum - despite continuous scandals within the UK regulatory system - Mr Swinney raised eyebrows by appearing to argue that the systemic problems had been fixed in 2008.
However with the lack of effective press scrutiny and the apparent collusion of the political and financial classes, it is difficult to see how trust between the citizen and public institutions can be restored.
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