Public trust in national government has declined over the last year, amid a perceived mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic across the UK. Britons have instead looked to experts and local leaders for information and advice about the virus, with trust at a community level growing and the majority of communities feeling a stronger sense of cohesion.
As trust is a vital ingredient for a happy and cohesive society, restoring public confidence at all levels will be crucial to our recovery. Similarly, failure to do so risks the spread of misinformation and fake news, undermining the collective action needed to create a successful route out of lockdown. Drawing on themes from the British Academy’s COVID-19 and Society reports, Christina Boswell and Emily Morrison explore issues of trust and how we can work together to rebuild society in years to come.
The British Academy’s COVID-19 and Society reports are part of an independent review prepared for the Government Office for Science to address the question: What are the long-term societal impacts of COVID-19? The Institute for Community Studies contributed to this report, with a focus on the social implications of COVID-19 on communities.