London: Britain remains a well-mannered and courteous country despite reports of rudeness and anti-social behaviour, a study has found. According to the survey, Britons were generally more civil to each other than in most other western countries. It also claimed that the perception that politeness was declining was generally untrue.

Britons trust each other more now than they did in 1991, when 55 percent agreed that most people could be trusted compared with 65 percent more recently.

Will Norman, one of the authors of 'Charm Offensive', said the report showed how important civility was in people's lives.

He added: “Basic day-to-day politeness, saying 'please' and 'thank you', 'hello' and 'morning', giving up seats, the use of mobile phones, how you react to other people - the impact that has on building community and in triggering respectful relationships is extraordinary.”

Robert Zarywacz, of Please And Thanks and the National Campaign For Courtesy, warned that the economic downturn could harm common politeness.

“People under pressure to achieve more with less resources are more likely to be stressed and tired. This is when courtesy can suffer,” he said.