22nd January 2018

Make the world less lonely, businesses are urged

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Mental Health Support

Businesses will play an essential part in the government’s plan to tackle loneliness and social isolation, which is deemed as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The move follows Theresa May accepting a series of recommendations from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.

Research reveals 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.

Loneliness can be caused by a life event, such as a bereavement or becoming a parent, with young people and carers particularly at risk.

In addition, Tracey Crouch, minister for civil society and sport, is taking on a new ministerial brief on loneliness.

She said: “I am sure that with the support of volunteers, campaigners, businesses and my fellow MPs from all sides of the House, we can make significant progress in defeating loneliness.

“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.”

The government will develop a strategy on loneliness which will bring together businesses with local and national government, public services and the voluntary sector to create an integrated solution.

The Office for National Statistics will also establish indicators of loneliness across age groups for major research studies.

Theresa May said: “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life.

“A number of government initiatives are already in place to help reduce loneliness, including improved mental health support, and the pocket parks programme which has transformed unused spaces into new green areas, giving lonely people the chance to join volunteering groups and interact with neighbours.”

Rachel Reeves MP and Seema Kennedy MP, co-chairs of the Commission said: “We look forward to working with Tracey Crouch, businesses, community groups and the public to create a world less lonely.”