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Clergy fail to make the cut on truth

29 January 2016


Safe pairs of hands: women workers with male customers, in a barber's shop in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1960

Safe pairs of hands: women workers with male customers, in a barber's shop in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1960

MORE people trust their hairdresser to tell the truth than their clergy, a poll has suggested. The figures bear out reports of a continued decline in public trust in the Church.

The poll, carried out by Ipsos MORI, found that 69 per cent of respondents trusted their hairdresser to be honest, but only 67 per cent believed the same thing of a cleric.

Public faith in the clergy has continued to fall since 1983, until when it was ranked as the most trusted profession. The latest figures suggest that there has been a two-per-cent drop in trust in the past 12 months.

This year, doctors remain at the top when it comes to winning public trust, as 89 per cent of the public in the survey trusting them. Teachers, judges, and the police are also highly trusted.

At the bottom end of the scale, bankers were found to be less trusted to tell the truth than builders; and journalists and estate agents were trusted even less: by just 25 per cent of the public.

Politicians remain the least trusted of the professions: just 21 per cent of the people surveyed believed them.

The director of the Social Research Institute of Ipsos MORI, Bobby Duffy, said: “Public trust in politicians remains steadfastly low. . . . It’s good to remind ourselves that this is not a ‘new crisis of trust’.

“Other professions, though, have seen a long-term decline in trust, most notably the clergy, who were the most trusted profession when we started the series in 1983, and have fallen behind seven other groups.”

Even passing strangers were reckoned to be more trustworthy than the clergy: 68 per cent of those surveyed said that they would expect people whom they encountered on the street to be honest.

Trust in others did range significantly with age, however. Respondents belonging to he younger generations were found to be much less trusting than those from older generations.

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