Londoners, it appears, don’t trust their neighbours. At least that’s what a survey commissioned by the Government suggests. Less than a third said they could trust the people in their neighbourhood.
This rather depressing finding is one of many from the Government’s annual Community Life Survey, which started 3 years ago. It was set up to assess feelings of community in society. The findings reinforce the widely held belief that the capital can be an unfriendly place. But the bad news for the country is the rest of England seems to be heading that way.
While only 31% of Londoners trust the neighbours, it is 44% in the rest of the country, but there’s been a significant fall in level of trust in the past 3 years.
While there may not be a great deal of trust, half the Londoners questioned chat with a neightbour at least once a week. The rest of England emerges as friendlier but not as friendly as it was.
One worrying result for both London and England as a whole is the falling rates of people who have a sense of belonging in the place they live. When this question was asked 3 years ago more than three quarters of people said they felt fairly or very strongly that they belonged in an area. In the most recent results that proportion has dropped to a little over 60%.
Despite this lack of belonging, some levels of community spirit seem to be holding fast. 57% of those asked in London said they felt people worked together to make their neighbourhood better.
And there are 2 other positives. 83% of Londoners who took part said that they believed in Britain, and that rate has been consistent for 3 years. 84% said their area was one where people of different background could get on well together.
The Community Life Survey is commissioned by the Cabinet Office and carried out annually by a polling company. In 2014-15 2,000 participants were interviewed.