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City academic says British public confused by financial crisis

New research from City University London reveals UK public has little faith in politicians or bank’s abilities to sort out the financial crisis
by Hollie Jenkins

New research commissioned by City University London suggests that the British public is very worried and confused about the economic crisis in Europe and are generally sceptical that either politicians or bankers will be able to sort it out.

The poll of 2,000 British respondents was conducted as a part of a new research project titled Media and the Economic Crisis and was led by Professor of Financial Journalism at City University London, Steve Schifferes.

Key findings include:

People are very worried about the crisis:

  • 75 per cent of respondents said they are closely following the news about the economic situation
  • 65 per cent said their standard of living has declined this year, and 53 per cent predict it will go down again next year - a sharp decline in consumer confidence
  • There has been a significant increase in the number of people looking at information frequently about their personal finances, with 74 per cent doing so weekly or daily now, compared to just 34 per cent in 2006 (Household Financial Capability Survey, FSA)

Bankers are still blamed for the crisis:

  • 65 per cent of respondents say bankers are to blame for the crisis
  • 60 per cent say greed and speculation are the root cause of the crisis

Politicians are not trusted to solve the problem:

  • 65 per cent of those surveyed say government favours bankers rather than ordinary working families
  • 35 per cent of respondents said that none of the political parties had the best policy on the economy (vs 32 per cent for Conservatives and 22 per cent for Labour)

People don't think the media has helped them understand the crisis enough:

  • 45 per cent of those surveyed said they don't understand the implications of the European crisis on their personal finances
  • 49 per cent said journalists do not tell them enough about how the crisis will affect them personally
  • 35 per cent say the news uses too much jargon that they don't understand

Steve Schifferes, Professor of Financial Journalism at City University London says:

"These poll results show that there is a serious democratic deficit in the UK, as well as in Italy and Greece where governments have just been replaced. People are very worried about the new phase of the crisis in the UK but do not trust the politicians to sort out the mess.

"These findings should be worrying for politicians, bankers, and journalists alike. The public is still deeply suspicious of bankers, who they still blame for the financial crisis we are in. They don't believe any political party has the answers to the crisis and they don't think journalists are doing a good enough job explaining how the crisis will affect ordinary people."

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.