United Kingdom appoints minister for loneliness

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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May meets Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw, Poland December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Responding to research findings that more than nine million people in the United Kingdom feel lonely, Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday announced her administration’s initiative to confront loneliness in the country: appointing the country’s first ever minister for loneliness.

In a statement, the head of state called loneliness “the sad reality modern life” and said that it is affecting far too many people. “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,” May said in a statement.

May announced that Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, will be the ministerial leader in the nationwide effort to combat loneliness.

The appointment comes after the Jo Cox Commission, which published the study findings on loneliness in the country, gave the government recommendations on how to tackle the problem.

Appointing a ministerial lead on loneliness was the first recommendation given by the body. The newly appointed Crouch will oversee the delivery of the rest of the steps recommended by the organization while working with businesses, charities, and various groups in order to create a strategy against loneliness.

The Jo Cox commission is named after Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox, who was a prominent advocate for tackling the issue of loneliness in the country. In 2016, she was shot to death by a right-wing extremist.

Cox had established the commission shortly before her death and had called for the appointment of a minister to address loneliness in the United Kingdom.

“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,” said Crouch in a statement.