Figures released by Suffolk County Council show a worrying decrease in the number of meals on wheels services provided by Suffolk County Council to the most vulnerable in the county.
Labour Councillors have found that the number of meal services offered to people aged over 65 by the Council have fallen by 56% since the General Election, a figure much higher than the national average of 48%. This decrease in service provision will leave many of the more vulnerable in our community having to rely on family or friends to ensure they get a nutritious meal. The decrease in services also means that many older people have to fight their way round busy supermarkets in order to pay for ‘ready’ meals which are more likely to be high in salt and low on nutrition.
The huge reduction in provision comes at the same time as the well-publicised aging of the population. It also coincides with the increase in the price of meals services in 2011 when prices were increased from £3.55 to £5.
Labour Group Spokesperson for Health & Adult Care, Councillor Sarah Adams, who uncovered the figures, said ’It is quite appalling that Suffolk County Council are once again cutting provision to the most vulnerable in our communities. The savings in the adult social care provision were supposed to come from ‘efficiency savings’ but we can see that time and time again it is the most vulnerable that are effected by the savage cuts we are have to endure.’
‘It is no coincidence that the increase in price and the decrease in meals provision have taken place at the same time.’
The release of the figures comes in the same week that Suffolk County Council has announced a consultation on the privatisation of the meals provision service.
Cllr Adams said ‘Suffolk County Council has a track record in not consulting on privatisation and I see no reason why this consultation should be any different. I urge all users to let the County Council know what they think and support their Meals on Wheels provision to ensure that private companies do not make a profit from the service. We know that as soon as services are privatised the quality is cut and the price goes up. These are worrying times for our older people.’
Suffolk County Council Cabinet will meet on the 10th of September to discuss the proposal.
For more information contact:
Councillor Sarah Adams (Lab), Shadow Spokesperson for Health and Adult Care
mobile: 07714 598000
Notes to editors
Report by Daily Telegraph ‘Meals-on-wheels halved in two years in ‘silent assault’ on elderly quality of life’
Figures provided by Suffolk County Council
Year Meal service customers in year
2008 / 9 2499
2009 / 10 2478
2010 / 11 2565
2011 / 12 1683
2012 / 13 1088