A quarter of Britons don’t trust their neighbours and believe the local community is in decline, report suggests
- Researchers said number of post offices, pubs and libraries has drastically fallen
- Think tank said repairing social fabric of neighbourhoods is ‘defining challenge’
- One in four people now say that none or few of their neighbours can be trusted
Most people think their communities are in decline and many no longer trust their neighbours, a report found.
Researchers also said the number of post offices, pubs and libraries has drastically fallen in the past few decades.
Launching a cross-party review into community, Conservative think tank Onward said repairing the social fabric of our neighbourhoods is the ‘defining challenge of this Parliament’.
While well-being statistics are improving nationally, trust and life satisfaction is falling locally.
Most people think their communities are in decline and many no longer trust their neighbours, a report found (stock image)
One in four people now say that none or few of their neighbours can be trusted, up from one in seven in 2012.
Over the same period, the share of people who feel their area has become a worse place to live has increased by nearly a third to a quarter.
Polling by the think tank and PR firm Hanbury Strategy shows membership of local organisations has fallen from 61 per cent in 1993 to around 50 per cent today.
Since 2001, the number of pubs has fallen from 52,500 to 38,850, a 26 per cent drop.
Since 2005, libraries have gone from 4,392 to 3,187, a 27 per cent drop. And the number of post offices fell from 22,405 in 1982 to 11,547 in 2018, a 48 per cent drop.
The research also found that the perception of community decline is most pronounced among younger generations.
The largest fall in volunteering are among those aged between 16 and 34 years old.
The greatest decline in local membership has been among 20-29 year-olds and 30-39 year-olds, decreasing by 17 and 18 percentage points, respectively since 1993 (compared to 11 percentage points on average).
Researchers also said the number of post offices, pubs and libraries has drastically fallen in the past few decades (stock image)
In 1992, two-thirds of 30-39 year-olds were a member of a local organisation (second only to those in their 40s). By 2017, this group showed the second-lowest rate of membership, down to 46per cent.
The steering group will bring together politicians from across the political spectrum and civic leaders with deep expertise of strengthening communities on the ground.
Members include Labour MP Jon Cruddas and Tory MP Danny Kruger.
Will Tanner, Director of Onward, said: ‘Last year’s election was a ballot on belonging. Many of the Red Wall towns and working class voters who defied history to lend their votes were driven by the fraying social fabric of their place: the deteriorating high street, fragmenting community or disconnected neighbourhood.
‘This makes repairing the social fabric of local communities the defining mission of this Parliament: unless politicians of all parties work to give voters back a sense of local identity and ownership, their votes will increasingly go elsewhere.’