Public trust in clergy has fallen substantially over the past 30 years, while trust in other professions has risen, according to a new poll.

An Ipsos Mori survey of 998 British adults found that 65 per cent said they trusted priests and clergy to tell the truth – down 20 per cent from 1983, and down four per cent since last year.

Bobby Duffy, director of the Social Research Institute at Ipsos Mori, said the clergy had shown the most notable decline: they were “the most trusted profession when we started the series in 1983 and have fallen behind seven other groups, including scientists and, for the first time in this latest survey, the ordinary man or woman in the street.”

The figures mean that clergy are the 10th most trusted profession in Britain, ranking below television newsreaders, weather forecasters, nurses and doctors.

Despite the drop, more people said they trusted clergy than not. Thirty per cent said they did not trust members of the clergy to tell the truth.

Among all demographic groups, clergy retained a higher level of trust than distrust, achieving high ratings among the over-65s (73 per cent), people in the highest social grades (75 per cent), people with degrees (69 per cent) and people in rural areas (70 per cent).

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