Loneliness 'one of the most pressing social issues of our time' says new culture secretary
The new culture secretary has branded loneliness "one of the most pressing social issues of our time".
Matt Hancock spoke at the Charity Commission's annual public meeting, after a keynote address given by the Duke of Cambridge.
Mr Hancock, who was promoted to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in Theresa May's recent Cabinet reshuffle, said: "This (loneliness) is one of the most pressing social issues of our time, with research showing that nine million people say they always or often feel lonely.
"And of course it is charities and civil society who will play a crucial part in our plans to tackle it."
He told the audience of delegates: "We are looking forward to working with you to develop and implement that plan."
Last week Tracey Crouch MP was appointed minister for loneliness after the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness made a series of recommendations.
Ms Cox, who was murdered by a far-right terrorist, campaigned across the political divide before her death to find ways to combat social isolation.
At the event in central London, Mr Hancock said charities were often "better" than government at dealing with social issues.
He added: "I'm starting this job with a huge sense of possibility.
"I know from my five years as a minister in many departments that a charity is often better equipped to tackle the social problem than the government itself.
"And I think there's a huge amount more that we can do in finding opportunities for government, civil society and businesses to work together."