Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°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.

shares

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.”

shares

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

Southwold - a great place to retire to. Picture by Janice Poulson.

New research into the wellbeing of the country’s pensioners shows there is a lot to consider when it comes to deciding where best to spend your old age – with some places better than others when you decide to retire.

A small chemical spill was cleared up on the A14 westbound today.

Members of Jaffa running club, Carl Ashton and Clive sparkes, with Paul Winter of Ipswich building society title spencer of The Twilight Road Races with GB athlete Helen Davies

The race director of an inaugural night of elite and mass participation street racing in Ipswich has called for more amateur runners and fundraisers to enter the event.

David McGoldrick signs autographs at Portman Road.

A record-breaking crowd of more than 8,000 Ipswich Town fans flocked to Portman Road for the club’s annual open day today.

Four people have been arrested after a cannabis factory was found in premises in Mickfield Road, Stonham Aspal.

The incident happened on Norwich Road in Ipswich, oppositve Coes department store.

An Ipswich police constable involved in an alleged road rage incident has been convicted of dangerous driving by a jury at Norwich Crown Court.

The latest encampment on Holland Marshes.

Efforts are continuing today to move travellers from two sites in Tendring.

Lord Alan Sugar

A 17-year-old boy from Preston has been ordered to pay Lord Alan Sugar £100 in compensation after sending him an offensive tweet.

Cambridge archaeologists and the Touching the Tide Heritage Lottery Funded project has linked up for a major archaeological dig at various sites around Dunwich - Suffolk's famous

A new dig in Dunwich is hoping to reveal all the secrets of Suffolk’s lost city.

Police are investigating the incident

Burglaries have taken place at two businesses in Hamblin Walk, Woodbridge this week.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages