British Council report on trust in international relations 9/7/2018

The British Council has been researching how much trust the citizens of a range of countries place in the UK. Its report ‘The value of trust: How trust is earned and why it matters’ found that:  

  • Among people who had participated in the British Council arts and cultural programmes (including learning English) 75% said they trusted the UK, compared to 49% who had not. Those participating in UK cultural activity run by organisations other than the British Council averaged between those two poles, with 64% expressing trust.
  • The report breaks down international trust levels by different aspects of UK society – ranging from fair government to rule of law, diversity and welcoming attitude. When measured from this perspective, museums and cultural institutions average the second highest level of trust at 67%, second only to universities and academic research (70%). Few measures scored below 50%, but only 41% believe the UK contributes a fair share to development in poorer countries.
  • Those who expressed trust were almost twice as likely to want to do business with the UK (8% vs 14%)
  • Trust in the UK also varies by country: it has increased in China, India and Saudi Arabia and has declined significantly in Brazil, Russia and Turkey. (In Turkey, British Council contact has a larger effect than in any other country – participants are 57% more likely to trust the UK).
  • There was a small but significant decline in the perception that the UK is ‘open and welcoming’ following the decision to leave the EU.

  Alice Campbell-Cree comments “it is often the qualities that we ourselves consider to be most fundamental to our society that are also the most important to international perceptions and trust in the UK. Upholding, investing in, and protecting these qualities is likely to have a positive impact on our international relationships, helping to secure future prosperity for the UK. Supporting and making the most of the organisations which earn trust for the UK worldwide will be critical to this.” British Council