Gambling and energy the least trusted industries
Overall we found that MPs have moderate levels of trust in most sectors.
Opticians, airlines, charities, food and drink companies, pension providers and radio stations all receive a positive rating for trust, meaning more MPs trust these sectors than distrust them. The highest trust rating goes to opticians, with a mean score of 7.2. The least trusted industries among MPs are the gambling sector, gas and electricity markets, newspapers and magazines, and advertising.
How much regulation? Conservative and Opposition MPs disagree
MPs on both sides of the House tend to agree about regulation levels for most industries. However, there are significant differences between Conservative and Opposition MPs on the level of regulation required for the food and drink industry, newspapers and magazines, gas and electricity companies, and the gambling sector.
In all of these cases, Opposition MPs favour more regulation to a greater extent than their Conservative peers. While Conservative MPs have low levels of confidence in the gambling sector, newspaper and magazines, and the gas and electricity markets in particular, most Conservative MPs do not think that these industries need more regulation. Conservative MPs may think increased regulation can do little to improve their confidence, or they may consider that other forms of action, like voluntary codes of conduct or consumer pressure, are better avenues to improving trust.
In any case, there seems to be a consensus that reducing regulation is not the solution. Amongst both Conservative MPs and Opposition MPs there is little appetite to loosen regulation. Only for radio shows / stations do the proportion of MPs advocating less red tape outnumber those calling for more regulation.
With Prime Minister May’s Government still determining its goals and priorities, and the Labour party in flux, our research suggests that the food and drink, gas and electricity, and gambling industries, as well as newspapers and magazines, should all prepare for the potential of a greater level of scrutiny than is currently the case.
This is the first in a three-part series about regulation. The second part will explore MPs’ views on industry watchmen; the effectiveness, funding and remit of regulators. Part three will compare and contrast MPs’ views with those of the public.
Populus surveyed 122 MPs on the Populus MP Panel in March and April 2016 by self-completion online and postal questionnaire.