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Issue:- 5 December 2014

People trust local businesses more than business generally

PEOPLE in the North West have a dramatically higher level of trust in businesses in their area than they do in UK business as a whole.  The CBI's Great Business Debate (its campaign to increase public trust in business) is publishing a YouGov survey of over four thousand people, including 396 in the North West. It shows that, when people's feelings about businesses are determined by their direct experience, they are overwhelmingly positive but that this often fails to translate into support for business generally.  

In the North West 81% of people trust 'local businesses' (firms in their vicinity, big or small, that they interact with) compared with 51% who trust business overall. That matches a pattern for the whole UK where the figures were 81% and 57%.

The CBI is encouraging individuals to recognise that contradiction and calling on businesses to go further in strengthening their engagement with the areas where they operate. It is also calling on businesses to tell the bigger story of their contribution to communities, jobs and investment more convincingly.

Damian Waters, CBI North West Director, said:- “Businesses here have a job to do using the warmth felt for them at a local level to improve feelings about UK business as a whole.  When people have direct experience of companies, for example as customers or employees, it's overwhelmingly good and trust is high as a result. But opinions about business generally seem to have less solid roots. These views are more likely to be influenced by things people read or hear second hand and are a lot less positive. As part of the CBI's 'Trust In Business' campaign, The Great Business Debate, we're challenging individuals to think about the contradiction in how they perceive businesses locally and business generally. We're also calling on firms in the North West to build on the positive engagement they already have in the areas where they operate and to tell more convincingly the story of their impact on jobs, investment and taxes which is felt in communities all over the country.”

In the North West 68% of people agree they are more likely to trust a business with a strong presence in their area while only 7% feel local businesses don't have a positive impact on their locality.

Other key findings for the region include:-

► 55% agree local businesses often support other businesses in the area by sourcing locally; only 9% disagree.

► 54% agree businesses in my area are proud to be part of the community; only 6% disagree.

► Creating and supporting local jobs is the main thing people in the region say:- 'local businesses' (firms in their vicinity, big or small, that they interact with) should be doing more of to build trust (62%) followed by providing good customer service (56%)

► The trust building action they want more of from 'national businesses' (firms big and small operating across the UK) is jobs 66% and contributing to the national economy 65%.

The CBI's Great Business Debate wants to hear the widest possible range of views. Anyone can go to the website to leave comments or follow on twitter:- @bizdebate.

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