Half the British public... don't trust the British public, survey finds

A third of those surveyed were described as deeply suspicious of others, believing they were likely to lie to them or try to cheat them in some way

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The Independent Online

Nearly half the British public think they cannot trust other people, according to the British Social Attitudes Survey.

Some 47 per cent were suspicious of strangers, another 47 per cent thought they could be generally trusted while six per cent were uncertain about what to think, The Daily Telegraph reported.

A third of those surveyed were described as deeply suspicious of others, believing they were likely to lie to them or try to cheat them in some way.

There has been a surge of distrust among 18 to 34-year-olds. In 2005, 29 per cent of that age group were suspicious of others, but last year that figure had risen to 43 per cent.

Wealthier people tended to be more trusting than the poorest in society.

Rachel Ormston, who researches social attitudes at NatCen, which produces the survey, said: “There is a big debate about what it is that underpins trust.

“It does tend to be that people who have been most successful in life tend to be most trusting,

“The most common explanation offered is that trust is more risky for people who are more socially vulnerable.”

She said the overall picture last year was quite similar to the figures 16 years earlier. “It looks pretty much the same in 2014 as in 1998, which goes against the public narrative about how society is going down the pan and nobody is talking to each other anymore.”

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