British Council has published research on the importance of trust to the UK's prospects in international relations, which finds those who trust the UK are around twice as likely to deal with the UK in the future.
The Value of Trust details the perceived level of trust we have from other nations, the values and qualities that drive trust among young people – which includes world-leading arts and culture – and the implications that come from the analysis. In almost all countries surveyed, a higher level of trust in people from the UK was associated with a higher level of intention to do business / trade with the UK.
Information was gathered from surveys completed by 19–35 year olds across all 19 G20 countries.
Perceptions of UK qualitities saw 70% believe the UK has world-leading universities and academic research and 69% believe the UK has world-leading arts and cultural institutions and attractions. 61% agree we have world-leading sports teams and events and 59% agreed that the UK education system fosters creativity and innovation.
British Council identified that the qualities and values that most drive trust in the UK among young people internationally are:
- contribution to development in poorer countries
- a free justice system
- world-leading arts and culture
- working constructively with other governments
- treating people fairly
Cultural diplomacy and relations are key elements to earn trust. The definition of involvement in UK cultural relations activities includes participation in school exchange, education, skills, or volunteering programme with a UK institution; attended an arts or cultural event involving a UK institution, artist or performer; or studied English anywhere except at school.
Of those involved with UK cultural relations:
- 50% believed the supports these values well
- 31% believed the UK is neither good nor bad at supporting these values
- 6% didn't know
- 13% believed the UK was poor at supporting these values.
Of those not inolved with UK cultural relations:
- 31% believed the supports these values well
- 36% believed the UK is neither good nor bad at supporting these values,
- 18% didn't know
- 15% believed the UK was poor at supporting these values.
Net trust 50% while those not involved dropped to 32%. Further evidence from the survey shows that being involved with cultural relations actually decrease distrust.
Stark results from Turkey and Saudi Arabia showed that those who had not participated in cultural relations with the UK reported a strong distrust of the UK: 22% and 3% respectively.
Finally, the results from questions that show the connection between trust and interacting with the UK prove the importance of trust in our dealings internationally.
Those who intend to:
- do business / trade with the UK – Trust the UK: 15% / Distrust the UK: 8%
- study in the UK – Trust the UK: 21% / Distrust the UK: 12%
- experience more UK arts and culture in the future – Trust the UK: 30% / Distrust the UK: 14%
- visit the UK – Trust the UK: 45% / Distrust the UK: 21%
The top ten countries with the most trust in the UK, whether involved in cultural relations or not, in descending order are:
- South Korea