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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Trust issues: Dealing with distrust in politics

Liberal democracy across the West is under strain. The causes of these democratic challenges are many and complex but there is a common thread: a decline in political trust.

Growing distrust in politicians should be of particular concern to democrats and progressives. A lack of trust matters for two main reasons. First, growing distrust can lead to a downwards spiral of democratic decline, with voters disengaging, becoming polarised, or turning to populist leaders and causes.

We argue that policymakers must act on four significant social and political ‘gaps’ to arrest the decline in trust. In this report, we outline four major areas of challenge for policymakers to focus on to improve political trust. These will form areas of focus for future IPPR research and policy development in the years to come.