In the run up to the election, we’re calling for the next Government to continue fighting loneliness and supporting those who are vulnerable and lonely.
Here’s what we’re asking from the next Government:
1. A renewed commitment to tackle loneliness, backed by clear plans for funding both existing and pilot programmes which have proof of reducing loneliness levels.
Loneliness can cost as much £6000 per person in health costs and pressure on local services. Tackling loneliness not only improves people’s lives, but reduces the burden on an already overstretched health service, while making for a more productive, happier, and healthier workforce.
2. A renewed commitment to carry through on the development of a loneliness policy test, and the direction of resources to apply this retrospectively to key welfare policies.
The inclusion of a loneliness measure in the Family Test is critical for ensuring that government departments are held to account in their progress in tackling loneliness. By retrospectively measuring key welfare policies, like the introduction of Universal Credit, against this new loneliness measure, the government can assess where its policies are least and most effective in reducing loneliness levels.
3. To increase existing digital inclusion training initiatives to support hard to reach groups, and to invest funding in the provision of everyday technology, such as tablet computers, televisions, and mobile phones.
While training is an important part in increasing digital inclusion; this is not enough. The provision of equipment will ensure that people from low-income backgrounds remain connected when they do not see family and friends regularly due to health conditions or circumstance.
4. A commitment to go further than the Universal Service Obligation and create a right to Universal Broadband Access.
Means-tested access to Universal Broadband would ensure that everyone has the ability to access the internet regardless of ability or financial background. A means-tested minimum level internet access offer financed by government would support people who are the most deprived and lonely.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be posting on social media to raise awareness of these important issues, which impact many of the people we help on a daily basis.
WaveLength is the UK’s leading loneliness charity giving technology to those most in need. Since 1939, we’ve helped people living in the poorest communities to fight loneliness, by giving technology to individuals and organisations to help connect people to the world.
We help people who have poor physical and mental health, those who have previously been homeless or trafficked, or are survivors of domestic abuse.
Our unique experience as the oldest and only loneliness and technology charity gives us a range of perspectives on how some of the most vulnerable people in society use technology to make a positive difference to their lives.