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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

UK sinks to decade low in global Corruption Perceptions Index

UK sinks to decade low in global Corruption Perceptions Index


Transparency International's 2022 index ranks the UK at 18th

The UK has sunk to 18th in the global Corruption Perceptions Index rankings, which is the country’s lowest score in a decade. Transparency International explains that data for the 2022 index was collected between November 2019 and October 2022, during which time the UK government was facing criticism in the media for, amongst other things, its use of a ‘VIP’ fast-track to award PPE contracts to companies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Transparency International’s annual index, which assesses the perceived level of corruption in the public sector in 180 countries and territories through surveys with experts and business leaders, shows that the UK’s score fell from 78 in 2021 to 73 in 2022. The countries are ranked from zero to 100, with those countries receiving low scores perceived to be highly corrupt and those countries receiving a score of 100 perceived as free from corruption.

The majority of countries (68 per cent) score below 50, with the average global score achieved by countries remaining unchanged at 43. Denmark receives the highest score in the 2022 index of 90, followed by Finland and New Zealand both with a score of 87. The three countries at the bottom of the ranking, which are perceived to be the most corrupt, are South Sudan, Syria and Somalia. Those countries receiving historic low scores in 2022 include the UK, Qatar and Guatemala; with only five of the 180 countries assessed recording year-on-year score drops of five points or more: the UK, Qatar, Myanmar, Azerbaijan and Oman.

Daniel Bruce, Chief Executive of Transparency International UK, commented: “This sharp fall in the UK’s score is a powerful indictment of a recent decline in standards in government and controls over the use of taxpayer money. These findings should set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street. The underlying data clearly indicate that business executives and other experts are concerned about insufficient controls on the abuse of public office and increasingly view corruption and bribery as a real issue in Britain. This is the strongest signal yet that slipping standards are being noticed on the world stage.”

The Corruption Perceptions Index not only assesses the latest developments in the countries ranked, but also takes into account the progress made by those countries over the last decade. In addition to this, Transparency International's index explores the link between conflict, security and corruption.  

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