Government officials have been asked to measure the scale of loneliness across Britain after The Office for National Statistics reported a massive one million rise in the number of people living alone since 1996.
Today, one in three households contains a person who lives alone.
The same report shows that only 17% of older people who live alone remain in contact with family, while five million admit that their main form of company is the television.
This, according to experts, is partly to blame for the spike in health problems and resulting financial burden on the NHS.
Loneliness is thought to increase inactivity and pre-empt health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and blood clots. Social isolation can also be partly blamed for rising mental health problems including depression and...