Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 18°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Essex: Meals on Wheels review leaves elderly with ‘tough choice’

Who will look after your ageing parents?

Who will look after your ageing parents?

Archant

Cutting the subsidy for Meals on Wheels could leave the elderly “a stark choice” between heating and eating.

That’s according to opposition councillors concerned about a review of the County Hall Service.

Essex County Council (ECC) has launched a consultation on Meals on Wheels as part of an ongoing review of every service it runs in a bid to save money.

Among the options is removing the 89p subsidy it pays on each meal, which would push the cost up to users to £4.79.

Cutting the service altogether is not an option.

There are 1,003 users of the service across the county, including 97 in Colchester and 104 in Tendring.

Ivan Henderson, deputy leader of the Labour group at County Hall, said: “If the subsidy for each meal were passed on, a user who receives a meal five days a week all year would need to find an extra £218 a year.

“If adopted this cruel policy could force pensioners to make a choice in some cases of whether to pay the increase for a hot meal or to break into their heating allowance which would take a large chunk of their heating money. It could be a stark choice of whether they eat or heat their home in winter.”

Additional concerns have been raised as delivery drivers also provide a well-being check, an added benefit potentially saving the NHS money in early intervention but which could be lost if uptake of Meals on Wheels drops because of a price increase.

Robert Needham, chairman of the trustees of Age UK Colchester, said: “Speaking personally, I see a very difficult situation for ECC and a degree of sympathy for the work they have to do to show savings from all services across the board.

“But it is very regrettable it has an impact on those who most need help.

“With older people it is absolutely essential they get a hot meal. But nutrition is a very small element of the service in my mind.

“The benefit, the most valuable part is the daily visit and the comfort of knowing someone is coming around to see you, that human link.”

Mike Le Cornu, chairman of the Tendring Pensioners’ Action Group, added: “We are extremely concerned at the reduction of facilities for the elderly.

“This is an attack on the welfare state.”

An ECC spokesman said: “Wellbeing checks are an important aspect of the service. If people wanted to switch to an alternative we would make sure their vulnerability is addressed through assessing each case. Many vulnerable people will be using the non-subsidised meals services already. It is a question of what is right for each individual.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Marsden Amner reads a statement on behalf of Jean Wilcox's family outside Colchester Magistrates' Court

Tributes have been paid to a great-grandmother who died in a crash in north Essex.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train

Engineering work is taking place on the rail line between Norwich and Ipswich today.

Clacton Air Show 2016 final day

Day two of the Clacton Airshow provided perfect conditions for flying off the beach – and allowed more than 100,000 visitors to watch the full display.

Police stock image

An independently chaired misconduct panel has dismissed a police constable for gross misconduct.

Stock pic

A multi-car crash at the busy Yarmouth Road/London Road junction caused severe delays in Ipswich today (August 26).

Tracy Forshaw serving at Clacton Beer Festival 2016 on Thursday afternoon

Ale lovers are raising a glass to the Clacton Airshow at this year’s summer beer festival in the town.

Ben Gummer at his desk in the Cabinet Office. Photo: Robert Thom

In the final part of five three-minute interviews, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer explains why he enjoys being the town’s representative in parliament.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24