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Voters 'think politicians liars'

Trust in town halls is almost twice as high as in Parliament but most voters believe politicians at all levels in England are liars, research has found.

Westminster's reputation is in the doldrums after years of expenses scandals and sleaze claims and only 36% of adults have faith in the system compared to 64% for local councils, according the IPPR North think-tank.

Just 15% of voters believe that Government ministers tell the truth most or all of the time, compared to 24% for MPs and 28% for councillors, it found.

Voters most closely identify with their local area rather than Britain as a whole and 39% of people living in England think that local authorities should be given more powers, it added.

The think-tank argues that it is now time to devolve more power to the English regions following the transfer of many powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Director Ed Cox said: "Local identities are important and, alongside the rise in Englishness, we are also witnessing an even stronger attachment to local places. We're now more Essex than English, Brummie than British.

"People feel more able to influence decision-making locally than they do at the national level and so giving more powers to local areas would appear to be an important way in which people can reinvigorate local democracy.

"Local attachment is felt strongest outside of London and the South East and translates into calls for more powerful local institutions. The UK Government has now offered new powers and institutions to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London, where social and political identification have been strongest, but this should not be the end of the story.

"The Scottish referendum later in the year is already shining a light on the so-called English question; central government should now listen and respond to the public appetite for more powers for the city-regions outside London."

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