Trip to library or post office is vital for adult conversation

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Sometimes it takes scientific research to state the obvious. An American study involving 309,000 subjects has shown that solitude is worse for your health than obesity – and almost as bad as life-long smoking.

Perhaps politicians will now take account of the intangible contribution made by properly-staffed libraries and Post Offices.

There are eight million people living alone in the UK. For many pensioners, jobseekers and new mums, that trip to the library will offer the only adult conversation they have all day.

Our grandmother dropped her daily potter into town when the library and Post Office closed. She’s now getting confused and needs daily nurse visits to bandage her legs. What a triumph of cost-cutting!