Corruption Index: UK, US fall in new anti-corruption rankings, UK gets warning
30 Jan 2019

The United Kingdom has dropped out of the league of top ten countries perceived to have the lowest levels of government corruption, while the United States has tumbled out of the top 20 states, according to the new Corruption Perception Index.

The rankings, which list 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

While there are exceptions, the data shows that despite some progress, most countries are failing to make serious inroads against corruption, Index publisher Transparency International (TI) said.

The UK scored 80, two points down from its 2017 mark.

Despite the UK seeing one of the biggest overall increases from 2012 this is the first time since that the UK has gone down in the index and the lowest score since the UK hosted its global Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016, said TI, which issued a statement about early warning signals on corruption regarding the UK.

Robert Barrington, Executive Director at Transparency International UK, said: “Scandals in this past year such as an MP being found guilty of taking undeclared holidays paid for by a foreign state, as well as serious questions over the provenance of money used in the EU referendum, should send an early warning signal to the government – but we are not sure they are listening.”

“We also note the huge fall in rankings of Azerbaijan whose President was in the UK just last year meeting with the British Prime Minister and who’s ruling family own a number of UK -based assets. Although hosting corrupt kleptocrats in London does not affect the score on this index of public sector corruption, the UK government should be aware of the detrimental impact it has on the UK’s international standing.”

In response to the Index ranking and TI’s UK comments, UK Minister for Security and Economic Crime Ben Wallace said: “We have done more in the last 18 months on combatting dirty money and corruption than any government for decades. We are determined to keep up the momentum.”

Meanwhile, with a score of 71, the United States lost four points since last year, dropping out of the top 20 countries on the CPI for the first time since 2011.

However, not even top scoring countries like Denmark are immune to corruption.

“While the CPI shows the Danish public sector to be one of the cleanest in the world, corruption still exists, as seen with recent scandals involving Danske Bank,” TI said.

The top countries this year are Denmark and New Zealand with scores of 88 and 87, respectively; while the bottom countries are Somalia, Syria and South Sudan with scores of 10, 13 and 13, respectively.

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