By Matthew Barrett
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A new poll released today by Survation shows the daunting task the Coalition faces to convince the public its pension reforms are the right way forward. The poll finds people trust trade unions almost three times as much as they trust the government to be truthful about pensions. Whilst the poll was conducted for the union Unite, the results are still worth considering, especially in light of the planned strike by more than two million public sector workers later this month.
The first finding to worry Ministers is that trade unions are trusted to "provide accurate information on the affordability of public sector pensions" by 31% of the public. The unions beat other groups – think tanks, the media, business leaders, politicians and the Coalition – to be the most trusted body on public sector pensions. The trust level is measured by how many people gave the body in question a positive score (4 or 5 out of 5) when asked how much they trusted said body.
It is worth noting that just 5% of people fully trust "politicians" to tell the truth on public sector pensions, while 41% of people give politicians the lowest trust score of 1 out of 5.
9% trust the government, and 42% of people give the government the lowest trust score available – 1 out of 5.
Only 1% of the 1058 people polled fully trust the government on pensions, only 1% of people who intend to vote Conservative at the next election give the government a full trust score, and, again, only 1% of people who voted Conservative last year fully trust the government.
In another line of questioning in the poll, people were asked if they thought certain groups in society were making too few, the right amount, or too many "personal sacrifices to help the British economy recover from the economic downturn". 79% of people think MPs are making too few sacrifices, and only 11% think they are making the right amount of sacrifices. 67% of people who intend to vote Conservative think MPs have made too few sacrifices. A very similar number of people think Cabinet members have made too few sacrifices – 78% overall – and 68% of Conservative voters.