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BBC survey finds widespread mistrust with global government spend

Taxpayers do not trust their governments to spend public money properly, according to a BBC survey.

BBC survey finds widespread mistrust with global government spend


The survey of over 22,000 people in both rich and developing countries found despite there being an element of mistrust many people want their government to play a more active role in their country’s economy.

The findings differ between nations, but Andrew Walker, economics correspondent at the BBC, said “the general picture is that people do not feel their taxes are well spent.”

In Colombia and Pakistan, the average estimate of the amount of tax not spent in the public interest was more than two-thirds. In no countries was it less than one-third and Spain, at 34%, was the only one which came close to that said the BBC.

Walker said with this “rather cynical view” it is perhaps surprising that there is substantial support for governments to be more active in the economy.

Across the 22 countries surveyed, there was support for more government regulation and supervision of the economy. Only in the US, Spain, Turkey and Australia were people against more regulation.

Furthermore, just over half of respondents supported action to cut government borrowing, with the preferred method through cuts in services rather than increased taxes. The preference for spending cuts was especially marked in Brazil, China, Germany, France and Azerbaijan.

The research was conducted for the BBC World Service by Globescan and the Programme on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

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