Corruption in the UK

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Accountancy Age reports that;

One in eight British business leaders admit they have paid bribes or have been involved in other corrupt dealings of the past two years, double the figures in France and Germany, according to Ernst & Young (E&Y)'s 10th biennial survey of senior executives.

The survey, which interviewed 1186 business leaders in large organisations across 33 countries, showed 13% of all UK respondents said their company had experienced at least one case of bribery or corruption in the past two years, compared to 6% in Germany and 6% in France. The global average was as high as 24%, demonstrating the increased risks of doing business outside Western Europe.

In all, 11% of UK respondents admitted their organisation had been asked to pay a bribe to retain or win business over the past two years, compared with 16% in Germany and 10% in France.

Of course one has to assume that people answer these surveys honestly. If they do then this shows people believe the UK less susceptible to corruption, but that more succumb when temptation arises.

Why? I'll offer three reasons:

1) The government has failed to give lead. BAE is the classic example, but the failure to comply with OECD requirements on corruption are as important, and a massive embarrassment to the UK.

2) In an economy where we can delude ourselves with off balance sheet accounting, special purpose vehicles and the like we can certainly believe that anything can be described other than it really is, so sweeping corruption under the carpet.

3) We have a tax haven culture and that's corrupt to its core.

It's not good. It could change. It's up to the government to indicate that it wants change. Are you listening Gordon?