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Essex County Council deliver U-turn on Meals on Wheels

Politics / Wed 10th Sep 2014 at 09:30am

ESSEX County Council (ECC) is pleased to announce that it is committed to delivering the Meals on Wheels (MoW) Service after a public consultation revealed what a vital and valued service it is.

Back in May, ECC launched a consultation into the future MoW service as a response to the financial pressures facing the council and a falling number of service users. A consultation and in depth interviews also took place with service users.

The consultation feedback showed that the service users did not want to lose the service and believed that a full removal of the subsidy would result in the service being unaffordable. As a result of this feedback, ECC has taken the decision not to remove the subsidy but to increase the cost of meals to service users to £4.20 – an increase of only 25p.

Essex County Councillor Anne Brown, cabinet member with responsibility for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “The consultation showed us that MoW’s customers really valued the service that is offered. I am delighted that we have been able to protect this service, allowing older residents across the county to have access to an affordable hot meal.

“ECC is faced with significant financial pressures and we have had to review the subsidy ECC currently pays towards these meals. From October we will reduce the subsidy ECC pays, resulting in a 25p increase in the cost of meals for service users. I believe this is a manageable increase for service users and ensures our MoW service remains low compared to the private market and other local authorities.

“Ultimately this is good news for MoW service users and shows we have truly listened to consultation feedback. MoW costs remain extremely low and affordable, and have only increased by 45p in the last 7 years.”

The new prices will come into place on October 1st. Service users are being communicated to directly with details of the increase and anyone with concerns should contact their social worker or Social Care Direct on 0845 603 7630.

ECC is also intending to continue the service following commercial discussions.

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