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LGA responds to government's loneliness strategy
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, responded to the Government’s Loneliness Strategy announced yesterday.
“This announcement is a positive move towards tackling loneliness, which can have a devastating effect on people’s mental and physical health, and impact our health and care services. It is right that policy initiatives will be assessed to see if they reduce loneliness, and ensuring that GPs can refer people to community services presents an opportunity for a joined-up approach to tackle this serious social issue. However, it’s essential that these services which are already under pressure are able to cope with demand - £1.8 million will not be enough to ensure these services can do that - so it’s essential they are fully resourced as well.
“For too many people, loneliness is their reality all year round. They are often less able to look after themselves, which can make existing health conditions worse, and are more likely to become reliant on public services sooner. With local authorities facing a £7.8 billion overall shortfall by 2025, investing in community care and preventative public health initiatives that can support lonely people, and prevent loneliness from spiraling, has never been more essential.
“Community connectors provide valued support to individuals on the ground to make the most of community opportunities. Connector-style services are often the first to be cut despite their importance in tackling loneliness. So this announcement that £1.8 million will be available for more community spaces is an encouraging move, but it is also essential that the Government delivers more funding for essential services like social care and public health, in the upcoming budget.
“To maximise the cost effectiveness of loneliness initiatives and improve health and wellbeing, we urge government to reverse reductions to councils’ public health budgets and plug the funding gap facing adult social care which is set to exceed more than £3.5 billion by 2025. The Chancellor has the opportunity to begin this on the 29th October, where we hope he will build on the positive steps announced today. ”
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