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11 December 2017

Loneliness is everyone’s business

Responding to today’s (11 December) speech ‘Throwing a new light on loneliness’ by Rachel Reeves MP, Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness and Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Select Committee, Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman, said:

“We welcome and support the work the Jo Cox Foundation is doing to tackle the UK’s epidemic of loneliness. Loneliness can damage our economy by around £32 billion per annum and cost employers an estimated £2.5 billion a year. Loneliness can diminish productivity and creativity, both of which are so vital to the success of the small business community. A community which accounts for an annual turnover of £1.9 trillion a year – 51 per cent of all private sector turnover in the UK.

 “As the UK’s biggest business network we understand that small business owners and the self-employed can be particularly susceptible to feelings of loneliness; FSB offers practical support to help combat this, including a regular UK-wide series of networking events which has seen over 4,000 participants since launching earlier this year.”

The number of self-employed people continues to rise and now totals 15.1 per cent of all those in work. FSB research reveals that isolation and working alone is one of the top three challenges of self-employment (25%), and a report by Aldermore (March 2017) revealed that over a third (39%) of Brits say they have felt lonely since becoming their own boss.

Mike Cherry continued: Being a small business owner can often be very lonely – with no-one to share the responsibility and no-one to talk to about worries or concerns. This can escalate into mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. We’re urging small business owners and the self-employed to utilise business networking groups as a vehicle for connectivity to enhance their wellbeing.

More people than ever are taking the brave decision to become their own boss, and with a growing number of self-employed people running their business from home because of a number of factors, including high business rates and technological advances, they can be at risk from loneliness and isolation. FSB offers free business networking throughout the UK called FSB Connect.