The Ipsos Veracity Index is the longest running poll on trust in professions in Britain, having been asked consistently since 1983. The 25th edition reveals a significant decrease in public trust in politicians, with trust falling to levels last seen after the expenses crisis of 2009.
It also reveals that nurses, engineers and doctors are the top three professions most trusted to tell the truth in Britain in 2022.
Trust in politicians has fallen by seven percentage points since 2021, making them the least trusted profession in Britain. Just twelve per cent of the public say they trust politicians to tell the truth, down from 19% in 2021 and 15% in 2020. While trust in politicians has traditionally been low, this is the lowest score recorded for politicians in the history of the index.
However, trust has been at similarly low levels in the past: this year’s score is the lowest since levels last seen in 2009 in the aftermath of the expenses crisis, when 13% said they trusted politicians. Fieldwork for politicians was from 26 October – 1 November, immediately after Rishi Sunak’s accession to the post of Prime Minister.
This year’s top six most trusted professions are nurses, engineers, doctors, scientists, teachers and museum curators. Trust in nurses, doctors, teachers and museum curators has fallen since 2021, while trust in scientists has stayed the same and trust in engineers has risen by three percentage-points to make them the nation’s second-most trustworthy profession.
This five least-trusted professions are politicians, advertising executives, government ministers, estate agents and journalists. Politicians and Ministers, as well as estate agents, have seen a decrease in their level of public trust since 2021.
Nurses and doctors remain among the most trusted professions but their scores have fallen somewhat. Both nurses and doctors have seen a decrease in public trust from previous years. Eighty-nine per cent say they trust nurses to tell the truth, a five percentage-point decrease from 2021, and 85% say they trust doctors, a six percentage-point decrease in trust since 2021.
Trust in TV News Readers has risen by six points and trust in journalists remains at its highest point in 39 years. Fifty-eight per cent say they trust TV News Readers to tell them the truth, up from 52% in 2021. Twenty-nine per cent of the public now trust journalists, very close to the 28% score of 2021 but a record high in the near 40-year history of the poll – however they remain in the five least trusted professions in Britain.
Trust in trade union officials has also risen this year. Forty-eight per cent 48% of the public say they trust this group to tell the truth, an increase of 4 point since 2021. Since 1983 trust in this profession has now risen by 30 percentage points.
Three quarters of the public trust serving staff at restaurants to tell the truth. This puts them in the top ten most trusted professions in Britain. Two other professions make their first appearance in the index this year: two thirds of the public find taxi drivers to be trustworthy (66%) and just over half trust car mechanics (54%).
As with previous years, trust in professions varies little by gender. The largest gap between men and women is on trust in care workers, who are trusted by 82% of men and 71% of women, followed by ordinary men/women in the street, trusted by 59% and 52% respectively. Women are found to be more trusting of bankers (45% vs 39%) and estate agents (30% vs 25%).
Wider differences in levels of trust can be found between supporters of the Conservative and Labour parties. As seen last year, the largest difference between the two is on trade union officials, who are trusted by 65% of Labour supporters and 29% of Conservative supporters. There are also large gaps in the levels of trust held for individuals in government, with Government Ministers trusted by 34% of Conservatives and 12% of Labour supporters, and politicians generally are trusted by 26% and 11% respectively.
Mike Clemence, a researcher at Ipsos Trends & Foresight, said, “This year we have seen public trust drop gently across a wide range of professions. The biggest drop is in trust in politicians, which has fallen to levels last seen during the expenses crisis. However we have also seen small but noticeable falls for high-trust professions including doctors, nurses, teachers and curators, as well as trust in the average person in the street. This makes the professions where we have seen an increase in trust this year – TV newsreaders, trade union officials and engineers – all the more noteworthy.
There are also some new entrants in Britain’s list of trusted professions. Three quarters trust waiters and waitresses to tell the truth, making them among the ten most trusted professions in the country. We also see two thirds trust taxi drivers and a little over half trust car mechanics to tell the truth.”