To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment she has made of trends in the levels of loneliness and social isolation in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England; and what (i) financial and (ii) other steps her Department is taking to tackle loneliness and social isolation in those areas.
22 November 2021
DCMS collects data on levels of loneliness in England through its annual Community Life Survey. In addition, the Department commissioned a Community Life Survey Re-Contact Survey last year, to provide data on the period April 2020 to March 2021. These sources suggest that prevalence of loneliness has remained similar to pre-COVID levels, with 6% of adults reporting that they are always or often lonely.
The Department does not collect robust data on loneliness in local areas. However, DCMS works closely with experts such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to monitor other data sources and build our understanding. ONS recently published the first estimates of loneliness at a local authority level. As the ONS report states, because of small sample sizes and large confidence intervals, local authorities should not be ranked against each other.
The Department continues to take action to tackle loneliness through public communications to get people talking about loneliness, and supporting organisations across different sectors. This includes:
Awarding £260,000 to 9 organisations through the Loneliness Engagement Fund, to deliver communications and engagement activity that reaches groups at a higher risk of loneliness, including young people and people with disabilities.
Continuing to deliver and expand our Tackling Loneliness Hub, which provides a space for over 70 organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors to share expertise and develop innovative ways to tackle loneliness on an online platform.
Sharing practical tips and signposting to support through our public communications activity. During Loneliness Awareness Week in June, we partnered with organisations including TikTok, BT and the Royal Mail to reach more people than ever.
Copies of the first and second reports on the government's work on tackling loneliness are available in the Libraries of the House and online. A third annual progress report will be published in February 2022.