Theresa May appoints minister for loneliness after inspiration from Jo Cox
Theresa May has appointed a new minister for loneliness as part of a raft of measures to tackle the issue inspired by the late MP Jo Cox.
The Prime Minister said the Government would “do everything we can to see that, in Jo’s memory, we bring an end to the acceptance of loneliness for good”.
She announced that Sports Minister Tracey Crouch would take a lead on the issue and chair a cross-government group to keep loneliness firmly on the agenda.
It is one of a number of accepted proposals which were put forward by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness - a group launched in memory of the ex-Labour MP after she was killed by a neo-nazi in 2016.
Research suggests more than 9 million people always or often feel lonely, while around 200,000 older people can go more than a month without having a conversation with a friend or relative.
Ahead of a Downing Street reception today to celebrate the legacy of Ms Cox, Mrs May said: “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life.”
She vowed to “confront this challenge for our society” and address the loneliness felt by the elderly, carers and others who have “no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with”.
And she added: “Jo Cox recognised the scale of loneliness across the country and dedicated herself to doing all she could to help those affected.
“So I am pleased that Government can build on her legacy with a ministerial lead for loneliness who will work with the Commission, businesses and charities to shine a light on the issue and pull together all strands of Government to create the first ever strategy.
“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.”
Ms 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."
The Government vowed to publish a strategy on loneliness later in the year and create a dedicated fund to help charities tackle the issue.
Labour MP Rachel Reeves and Tory MP Seema Kennedy - the co-chairs of the commission - welcomed the announcement and said they would work with Ms Crouch to “create a world less lonely”.