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UK drops to its lowest-ever position in Corruption Perceptions Index

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Following a year of serious Ministerial Code breaches and a controversy around PPE procurement, to name a few issues, the United Kingdom has received its lowest-ever position in the global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Impact’s Hannah Walton-Hughes reports on the issue.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has ranked the U.K. as 18th in the world, falling by seven points to its lowest-ever score. The UK was one of just five countries to drop by five-plus points. A recent report warns that this indicates “slipping standards are being noticed on the world stage.

This puts the UK behind countries such as Estonia and Uruguay

Statistically, this puts the UK on the same level as Japan and Belgium, but behind countries such as Estonia, Uruguay and Iceland.

Many believe that this comes as a result of a year of various breaches of the Ministerial Code and controversy around PPE procurement. It comes just a few days after Nadhim Zahawi, former Chair of the Conservative Party, was sacked for breaching the Ministerial Code over his tax affairs.

This particular scandal will not have been taken into account, but various others were, including allegations that donors to the party had been “trading cash for seats in the House of Lords.

Transparency International is responsible for compiling the Corruption Perceptions Index. The estimated level of corruption in public sectors is calculated through “impartial surveys from experts and business leaders.

These latest results have prompted the Chief Executive, Daniel Bruce to comment that the “slump” indicates the “recent decline in standards of government”, and that business executives had identified “insufficient controls on the abuse of public office”.

The Chief Executive also said that this damning report should “set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street”, and hard work is needed to fulfil the Prime Minister’s pledge of integrity and accountability.

In terms of what should be done next, Transparency International has suggested that the government should knuckle down on potential conflicts of interest in government procurement contracts. They even put forward a suggestion of appointing an “anti-corruption champion.

“We need politicians who serve the interests of the public, not their rich mates.”

The Labour MP for Nottingham East, Nadia Whittome, told Impact that she wasn’t surprised by the report. She said, “in recent years, it has been revealed time and time again that Conservative politicians have misused public money, broken lobbying rules and helped their friends and funders obtain government contracts. We need politicians who serve the interests of the public, not their rich mates.”

In Ms Whittome’s view, “lobbying rules must be tightened, MPs should be banned for taking lucrative second jobs, and we need more accountability in the awarding of public contracts.”

This is just the latest in a series of blows for Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party as a whole. The ongoing investigation into the bullying allegations against Dominic Raab, as well as the controversy of re-appointing Suella Braverman as Home Secretary after it was found she had breached the Ministerial Code under Liz Truss, are continuing headaches for the PM.

Many will look to Rishi Sunak to act in order to reverse this slip in standards.

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Jamie Street via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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