Prime Minster Theresa May on Wednesday appointed a minister to look after issues related to more than 9 million young and old people in the United Kingdom, including many who have no social interaction whatsoever for days, and even weeks.
The initiative is part of the project on loneliness launched by late Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed in June 2016 in the charged atmosphere related to the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.
Tracey Crouch, who is minister for sport and civil society, has been tasked with the portfolio of loneliness, which will coordinate across the government on policy issues related to loneliness, including funding for groups working in the area.
May said: “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life. I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones – people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.
“Jo Cox recognised the scale of loneliness across the country and dedicated herself to doing all she could to help those affected…We should all do everything we can to see that, in Jo’s memory, we bring an end to the acceptance of loneliness for good.”
Crouch said: “This is an issue that Jo cared passionately about and we will honour her memory by tackling it, helping the millions of people across the UK who suffer from loneliness.
“Loneliness can be triggered by a life event, such as a bereavement or becoming a parent, with certain groups, such as young people and carers, particularly at risk.”
Research shows that more than 9 million people in the UK always or often feel lonely, while around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month. Up to 85% of young disabled adults – 18 to 34-year-olds – feel lonely.