UK public mistrusts 'big money' influence on political parties

UK public mistrusts 'big money' influence on political parties

By agency reporter
17 Sep 2011

A new poll by the Committee on Standards in Public Life indicates widespread public mistrust towards major donors to political parties.

The dominance of 'big money' is also a concern of democracy and accountability activists.

Political reform group Unlock Democracy's director, Peter Facey, commented: “It is clear from the Committee on Standards in Public Life that the public do consider the influence ‘big money’ has on politics is important and that it makes very little distinction between influence from individuals, companies and trade unions."

He continued: “This research should make sobering reading for politicians from across the political spectrum. It ought to spur them into action. Let us hope that it does not take another funding scandal before they are prepared to do so. With public confidence in politicians continuing to plummet, urgent action is required."

“Introducing a cap on donations to political parties may be risky but not as risky as doing nothing. It is high time government and opposition parties alike ended the rhetoric and got around the negotiating table.”

The summary of the polls findings reveals that:

* 82 per cent of people considered party funding to be an issue of "some" or "great" importance.
* 81 per cent of people believed people donated to political parties in the hope of receiving favours, special treatment or special access and influence over the party.
* 85 per cent of people thought that politicians very often or sometimes do special favours for donors.
* 76 per cent of people thought that politicians very often or sometimes based decisions on what their donors wished.
* 52 per cent of people thought that giving special favours to donors was never acceptable.

In a seperate poll, the CSPL also found that the percentage of people in England who believe that MPs are dedicated to doing a good job for the public dropped from 46 per cent to 26 per cent between 2008 and 2010.

Both polls can be found at: http://www.public-standards.org.uk/OurWork/Public_Attitude_Surveys.html

[Ekk/3]

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.