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Way In

An honest day's work?

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Benefit 'scroungers' get a bad rap in our national press, but new research conducted by the Christian development charity Tearfund suggests that the unemployed are more likely to be honest and scrupulous than those in work.
Tearfund has a longstanding campaign against global corruption, which has a huge impact on the world's poorest communities and destroys many efforts to tackle poverty. But the agency commissioned a poll to bring the issues closer to home. It asked more than 1,200 people some straightforward questions on personal integrity ahead of UN Anti-Corruption Day. Results revealed that when asked if they would keep quiet when given too much change, 54 per cent of people not working said they would acknowledge the error, compared with 41 per cent of those in work.

The poll also asked whether people would report an error in a bank account, crediting a refund twice. 56 per cent of people out of work say they would report it, while only 39 per cent of those in work would do so. When it comes to a supermarket self-service checkout error not charging for an item, although less than half, it's still the unemployed (45 per cent) who are more likely to own up than those working (37 per cent).

Other interesting results indicate that less than half of people polled would tell the bank if the cash machine gave us more than our account was debited. And among 16-24 year olds only 28 percent would tell the bank, contrasting with 51 per cent of people over 65. More reassuringly, only 19 per cent of people under 24 would wear a newly purchased item of clothing and return it - and just 5 per cent of those over 64. However, just over two thirds of us (67 per cent) have no problem using the office stationery or photocopier for our own use - a figure that may have been affected by the imminence of office Christmas parties.

See www.tearfund.org/tnshonestypoll for the full set of results.