• Catherine Utley

"Include extended family in your lives" Loneliness Minister

29 December 2018

The Conservatives' Loneliness Minister, Mims Davies

The new Loneliness Minister, Mims Davies, has said that British families should copy families in southern Europe who take grandparents on holiday and include them in their daily lives. Ms Davies, who was appointed to the post following Tracey Crouch's resignation in November, told The Sunday Telegraph: "We [in Britain] are just a little bit blinkered. We have decided that we should box ourselves in a bit and tick the boxes. ...We are in a weird place when we are very willing to drag our children around into our lives and enjoy our lives with them together - but being that sort of extended family is seen as being a bit more difficult."

When the Prime Minister created the position of Loneliness Minister in January 2018, she said the move was "the first vital step in a national mission to end loneliness in our lifetimes". Catherine Utley of Family Ties Matter said: "We applaud the government's words about tackling loneliness and, in particular, Ms Davies' comments about the importance of extended families. However, we find it incomprehensible that the words are not matched with moves to remove the discrimination suffered by adult family members who choose to set up home together but are denied all those rights and legal safeguards that are offered to others." A recent report from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness stated that more than 9 million people of all ages in Britain — about 14 percent of the population — often or always feel lonely. David McDaid, a research fellow on Mental Health at the London School of Economics, has said that the erosion of the nuclear family is one of the main reasons why loneliness has bloomed in recent years. "There are more single-person households in the E.U. than any other household type, which has coincided with “more awareness of loneliness as a issue” he told Time magazine.