Meals On Wheels To Cost More

Services for the elderly up 15% as Council cuts take effect

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Some of the borough's most vulnerable pensioners are seeing the effects of the Conservative-run council's Council Tax cuts.

 

Hammersmith and Fulham's Meals on Wheels service is to rise by 15 per cent, from £3.30 per meal to £3.80 per meal.

 

The move follows the introduction of new charges for home help at the beginning of January 2009.

 

Hammersmith and Fulham Council delivers 94,000 meals on

wheels every year. In 2008 320 people took advantage of the service, compared to 420 people in 2007.

 

Labour Councillor Steve Cowan said that the charges represented a 'stealth tax'.

 

He said: "This is the third year in a row that prices for meals on wheels have risen – bringing the total increases to 60 per cent during that period."

 

Councillor Cowan said that the Council was also trying to pursuade recipients of meals on wheels to switch to frozen dinners, which are cheaper for the Council to provide.

 

However, the Council defended the increased charges, saying that prices in Hammersmith and Fulham for Meals on Wheels were in line with other London boroughs.

 

A spokesman denied that the Council was promoting frozen dinners on grounds of economy, and said many elderly people preferred the convenience of microwaveable frozen food.

 

The Council say that despite the recent Council Tax cuts, services in the borough have “improved significantly" and residents are better off.

The spokesman said: "The people the Council Tax cuts have helped most are those on low, fixed incomes, such as pensioners."

 

29 January 2009