Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

UK Now Has A Minister For Loneliness

UK Now Has A Minister For Loneliness

The new ministerial role was suggested by the Jo Cox commission, a body set up to continue the Labour MP's work.

Now, to carry on her legacy, British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Tracey Crouch - the undersecretary for sport and civil society in the culture ministry - to lead a commission in Cox's honor to examine and establish policies addressing the issue.

"I think today, with the appointment of the minister and with the agreement that there will be a strategy to tackle loneliness, those two key things are the beginning, they are certainly not the end, of a blueprint for how we can tackle loneliness and what has become a social epidemic in our country".

Thousands of events aimed at bringing people together will once again take place this summer, to coincide with what would have been Mrs Cox's 44th birthday.

Asked whether part of the problem lay with local authority cuts leading to library and day centre closures, she said these were all challenges and would be looked at, and stressed there was no single solution.

Professor Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer for England, has said that loneliness can have a "devastating impact" on mental health and can also increase the risk of premature death by a third.

She said "simple acts of companionship" could make all the difference.

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According to government figures, more than 9 million people in the United Kingdom.

Jo's husband Brendan Cox said: 'One of the very bad things about losing Jo is knowing how much difference she would have made in the world.

Dr Hamish Jamieson from the University of Otago said it was an excellent idea.

"If it were not for the work of Jo, it is unlikely that this would have happened and it is testament to her tenacity and determination that loneliness is now being treated a matter of national importance", she added.

"Throughout 2017 we have heard from new parents, children, disabled people, carers, refugees and older people about their experience of loneliness". Particularly people between jobs and unemployed people, pregnant women and sometimes students.

Debbie Thrower from The Gift of Years, a Christian group for older people, told Premier loneliness a massive issue due to many people growing older without their family living close by.

Dr Jamieson said loneliness was hard to address, but on a government level it involved housing and transport.

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