Britain is ranked as the 14th least corrupt nation, the same ranking as last year and three places better than in 2012, in Transparency International’s study of corruption in 175 nations. Out of a possible score of 100, where a higher number indicated less bribery, Britain scored 78. The best rated country was Denmark with a score of 92, followed by New Zealand on 91 and Finland on 89. Of other notable nations, Germany was ranked joint 12th with a score of 79, Japan was joint 15th with 76, Ireland and the US were joint 17th with a rating of 74, and France was joint 26th with 69.
At the other end of the scale, Somalia and North Korea shared joint last place with a score of just 8 out 100.
This is the 20th year of Transparency International’s corruption index, which tracks the perception of how corrupt people working in the public sector of each country are. “Corrupt officials smuggle ill-gotten assets into safe havens through offshore companies with absolute impunity,” said José Ugaz, chairman of Transparency International.
Poorly equipped schools, counterfeit medicine and elections decided by money are just some of the consequences of public sector corruption. Bribes and backroom deals don’t just steal resources from the most vulnerable – they undermine justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders.
Based on expert opinion from around the world, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, and it paints an alarming picture. Not one single country gets a perfect score and more than two-thirds score below 50, on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Corruption is a problem for all countries. A poor score is likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs. Countries at the top of the index also need to act. Leading financial centres in the EU and US need to join with fast-growing economies to stop the corrupt from getting away with it. The G20 needs to prove its global leadership role and prevent money laundering and stop secret companies from masking corruption.