Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Britain appoints Minister for loneliness

Britain appoints Minister for loneliness

"This is an issue that Jo cared passionately about and we will honor her memory by tackling it, helping the millions of people across the United Kingdom who suffer from loneliness", Crouch said.

Tracey Crouch, the minister for sport and civil society, has been asked by the prime minister to lead the cross-governmental strategy tackling loneliness and social isolation.

In December the Commission published a report calling for a national strategy to combat loneliness and recommended the Government establish a minister to be responsible.

According to research, more than 9 million people always or often feel lonely, around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month, and up to 85 per cent of young disabled adults - 18-34 year olds - feel lonely. They have been working with 13 charities including Age UK, Royal Voluntary Service and Action for Children to develop ideas.

"It's not so much about meeting people on the internet and making new friends, but it's more of a motivational support network that gives you direction on how to cope and fix the problem", she said, adding that she was surprised by how many young people had joined the group.

Executive director Laura Alcock-Ferguson said: "Loneliness is an epidemic, and the Government has made it clear that it must be taken seriously".

"Funds will be raised, and the Office of National Statistics will arrange a method of measuring loneliness", said Crouch.

The minister of loneliness position was in part inspired by a report issued after the murder of former Parliament member Jo Cox.

. "We look forward to working with minister Tracey Crouch, businesses, community groups and the public to create a world less lonely".

"It's proven to be worse for health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day, but it can be overcome and needn't be a factor in older people's lives", he said.

At a Downing Street reception to celebrate the Labour politician's legacy, the Prime Minister said the ideals the campaigner stood for would not be forgotten.

The Minister for Loneliness plans to use "simple acts of companionship" to help avert loneliness that is gravely affecting an estimated half of people aged over 75 live alone - about two million people across England - with many saying they can go days, even weeks, with no social interaction at all.

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