What is corruption?

Date: 
Tuesday, 31 May, 2016

You can now listen to our Deputy Director Will McMahon and Professor David Whyte of the University of Liverpool talking about our recent report - Redefining Corruption - in a podcast on the Tax Justice Network website.

The report, based on a representative YouGov survey, asked the British public what they thought of certain commonplace practices to do with close relationships between public servants and private business. According to the report:

  • 73% agreed that ex-ministers should be banned from joining company boards if it meant they were profiting from experience gained while in office.
  • 75% felt that ex-civil servants should not become paid advisers to companies they have had a close working relationship with while in government.
  • 62% wanted a ban on accountancy companies using insider knowledge to advise clients on how to avoid tax.

The briefing also looks at public attitudes towards government contracts with private sector providers:

  • 68% were in favour of a ban on Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts for buildings like new hospitals and schools, because of the large profits made on such deals by the private sector.
  • In the case of private companies being found to breach agreements with the government to boost profits, 10% said they felt the government should be held accountable for such failure, 33% said the company should be held responsible and 44% said both government and company should be brought to account.

The report was covered in the i newspaper, and a letter about it by Will was published in The Guardian