Just nine per cent of the British public say they trust politicians to tell the truth, down from twelve per cent in 2022. This makes them the least trusted profession in Britain. Although trust in politicians is usually low, this years’ score is the lowest for politicians since the first wave of the survey in 1983; aside from 2022 the previous low was a score of 13%, which occurred in 2009 following the expenses scandal.
Trust is lower still among some subgroups: just three per cent of London residents and 2 per cent of those aged 25-34 consider politicians to be truthful.
The picture is the same for Government Ministers, who are tied with politicians as the least trusted profession in Britain. Just one in ten Britons say they trust Ministers to tell the truth (10%), a six-percentage-point decrease from the 2022 score and a new lowest figure for this profession. Trust in Ministers was last at this level in 1993, when 11% trusted them to tell the truth.
The Ipsos Veracity Index is the longest running poll on trust in professions in Britain, having been asked consistently since 1983. The 26th edition also reveals that nurses remain the most trusted profession in Britain, closely followed by airplane pilots and librarians.
Key Research Findings:
- This year’s top five trusted professions are nurses, airplane pilots, librarians, doctors and engineers. Trust in nurses, doctors and engineers remains at a similar level to last year, while airplane pilots and librarians are new entries to the survey this year.
- The five least trusted professions are politicians, government ministers, advertising executives, journalists and estate agents. Politicians, ministers and journalists have seen a decrease in their level of public trust since 2022, while trust in estate agents has stayed the same and ad execs have seen a small increase.
- Trust in TV News Readers has fallen by sixteen points since 2022. Forty-two per cent say they trust TV News Readers to tell the truth, down from 58% in 2022. This is the lowest level recorded for this profession in the history of the index.
- Views of the truthfulness of the police continue to decline. Fifty-six per cent say they trust the police to tell the truth, a decline of seven points since 2022. But trust in the police has fallen by twenty points since 2019 and now stands at the lowest level recorded in forty years.
Trust in professions differs between supporters of the Labour and Conservative parties. Most notable is the gap in trust in Trade Union officials, who are trusted by 64% of Labour supporters and 19% of Conservative supporters. There are also differing levels of trust for civil servants, trusted by 67% of Labour supporters and 43% of Conservative supporters, and managers in the NHS (67% and 46% respectively).
There is also a gap on trust in politicians: nine per cent of Labour party supporters trust politicians to tell the truth and seven per cent say the same for Government Ministers, while for Conservatives these figures are 19% and 20% respectively.
Mike Clemence, a researcher at Ipsos, said:
While trust in politicians has been low for as long as we’ve measured it, this year’s scores are still noteworthy. Trust in politicians has fallen below previous lowest score, recorded after the 2009 expenses crisis, while trust in Government Ministers is at its lowest ebb since the early nineties.
We record sizeable declines in trust for other professions, most notably TV news readers, scientists and journalists. Trust in the police to tell the truth has fallen seven points since last year; cumulatively we’ve recorded a drop of twenty points in the trustworthiness of the police between 2019 and this year.
But there is good news for other professions: nurses remain the most trusted profession in Britain, a position they have held since entering the index in 2016. And the British public put a similarly high level of trust in airplane pilots, librarians, doctors and engineers.
Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,020 and 1,015 British adults aged 16+. Interviews were conducted by telephone in two waves between 8 and 14 November and 15 and 21 November 2023. As with the 2020, 2021 and 2022 waves, the index has been carried out by telephone rather than face-to-face, which was the method for waves pre-2020. Mode effects should be kept in mind when comparing the results with previous years’ data, especially when differences are close to the margin of error. Data is weighted to match the profile of the population.