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Liberal Democrats Condemn Cuts to Meals on Wheels

May 28, 2014 4:57 PM
Meals on Wheels

The Tories plan to cut Subsidies to the Community Meals service.

Lib Dems on Leicestershire County Council have branded proposals to withdraw the subsidy for meals on wheels delivered to elderly people as a thoroughly bad idea. Leicestershire County Council delivers approx 350 meals across the County each day. Residents currently pay a daily charge of £3.25 towards the full cost of £5.90. The Conservatives plan to cut this subsidy and require users to pay the full price in order to save £300,000 per year.

Lib Dem Group leader Simon Galton said "This is a penny pinching move which will affect some very old and vulnerable people. The £300,000 it would save is a tiny fraction of what the Council needs to save over the next four years.

There are better ways of saving this money. For example, the Council spends £90,000 on delivering its Leicestershire matters newsletter to every house in the County! There are also persistent budget underspends each year. We believe the subsidy could be absorbed to enable this vital service to continue."

The Tory administration claim that elderly people will still be able to purchase meals at the full price of £5.90 or buy a cheaper ready meal from a super-market, but the Liberal Democrats remain unconvinced.

Hinckley Councillor Michael Mullaney said "Telling people that they will still be able to pay full price or buy a ready meal completely misses the point! We are dealing with some of our most frail and elderly citizens and this goes beyond just ensuring they get a hot meal every day, important as that is.

We see this service as part of the Council's wellbeing role, a way of checking that elderly people who live on their own are okay. If they can't afford £5.90 a day there is a danger the withdrawal of the funding will lead to social isolation, which is why we oppose this subsidy being cut."

The cuts to the community meals subsidies are currently being consulted on. Residents can express their own views by using the County Council website.