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UK’s ranking unchanged on leading corruption index – but TI warns there is risk of slipping

25th January 2017, London – The UK Government should follow through on commitments made last year and implement a world-class Anti-Corruption Strategy, to remain amongst the countries perceived to be the least corrupt.

For the second year running the UK is ranked 10th in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, tied with Germany and Luxembourg, just behind Canada but ahead of Australia. A minor drop in the score in future would see the UK fall out of the top 10, underlining the risk to the UK’s reputation if standards are lowered as a result of Brexit.

In 2016 the UK hosted a global anti-corruption summit and made a series of pledges to fight corruption, some of which have been implemented whilst others remain without action. Theresa May has since outlined a vision of a global Britain that upholds international standards, whilst providing leadership on the world stage. The UK Government’s commitment to fighting corruption is central to this goal.

Robert Barrington, Transparency International UK Executive Director, said:

“The UK has rightly aimed to be amongst the top 10 in the global anti-corruption league table, but there is work to do to keep this ranking.  The Government promised to publish a national Anti-Corruption Strategy by the end of 2016, but this has yet to appear, and if the Strategy is weak or further delayed, the UK will risk dropping out of the top ten. A strategy is both a signal of intent and a roadmap to fight the menace of corruption.”

“Already, the uncertainty posed by Brexit has the potential to encourage a ‘business at any cost’ trade strategy; such an approach would be a disaster for UK’s long-term reputation as a leading anti-corruption player. Brexit signalled disillusionment about politics and inequality; this must be addressed by the Anti-Corruption Strategy. The rise of populist strong-man figures elsewhere should act as warning sign that we need to confront corruption within the UK and particularly within the political system.”

“The UK should now be seeking to consolidate and improve its global positioning, and avoid lowering standards as a short-term fix to its economic concerns. By contrast, the forthcoming Anti-Corruption Strategy must take a long-term, wide-ranging approach that encompasses domestic corruption, politics, and the role of the UK as a safe haven for corrupt assets, as well as focus on how the UK can lead globally.”

The Global Picture

Denmark and New Zealand perform best with scores of 90, closely followed by Finland (89) and Sweden (88). Although no country is free of corruption, the countries at the top share characteristics of open government, press freedom, civil liberties and independent judicial systems.

For the tenth year running, Somalia is the worst performer on the index, this year scoring only 10. South Sudan is second to bottom with a score of 11, followed by North Korea (12) and Syria (13). Countries at the bottom of the index are characterised by widespread impunity for corruption, poor governance and weak institutions.

Countries in troubled regions, particularly in the Middle East, have seen the most substantial drops this year. Qatar is the biggest decliner compared to the 2015 index with a drop of 10 points. The index scores of Hungary and Turkey – countries that have seen the rise of autocratic leaders – have dropped in recent years. In contrast, the score of Argentina, which has ousted a populist government, is starting to improve.

Jose Ugaz, Chair Transparency International said:

“In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity. We do not have the luxury of time. Corruption needs to be fought with urgency, so that the lives of people across the world improve.”

“In countries with populist or autocratic leaders, we often see democracies in decline and a disturbing pattern of attempts to crack down on civil society, limit press freedom, and weaken the independence of the judiciary. Instead of tackling crony capitalism, those leaders usually install even worse forms of corrupt systems. Only where there is freedom of expression, transparency in all political processes and strong democratic institutions, can civil society and the media hold those in power to account and corruption be fought successfully.”

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Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption

 

Contact:

UK media:
Dominic Kavakeb
T: 0207 3096 7695
M: 079 6456 0340
E: dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

International media:
Natalie Baharav
T: +49 30 34 38 20 666
E: press@transparency.org

 

 

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Read 315 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 12:58

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