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Liberal democracy across the West is under strain. The causes of these democratic challenges are many and complex, but there is a common thread - a decline in political trust.

Growing distrust in politicians should be of particular concern to democrats and progressives. A lack of trust matters for two main reasons. First, growing distrust can lead to a downwards spiral of democratic decline, with voters disengaging, becoming polarised, or turning to populist leaders and causes.

In this paper, the authors argue that policy-makers must act on four significant social and political ‘gaps’ to arrest the decline in trust. They also outline four major areas of challenge for policy-makers to focus on to improve political trust. These will form areas of focus for future IPPR research and policy development in the years to come. 

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CC BY-NC-ND
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open