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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Meals on wheels cut by 63% by Tory-led government

A Freedom of Information survey by the Labour party has found that 63 per cent fewer people are now receiving meals on wheels, affecting more than 220,000 people, since the Tory-led government took office in 2010. Labour's survey also found that over the past year alone, the number of people receiving council-funded or commissioned meals has almost halved from just under 255,000 people in 2013/14 to 129,300 in 2014/15, a fall of more than 125,000 people.

The figures also show that the average price of a single meal has gone up by 22 per cent under this government, meaning that those who still receive meals each day are on average paying £237 more this year than they were, before the Tory-led government came to power in 2010. As an alternative Labour say that the next Labour government will fully join-up the National Health Service and social care to get the best results for users and the best value for taxpayers' money.

Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, 
Liz Kendall, who obtained the figures, said: "Having a decent meal and contact with someone at least once a day is a lifeline for many elderly people. Removing this support isn't good for them and it’s a false economy too, if their health suffers and they struggle to cope, and they end up having to go into hospital or a care home. We must end this false divide between social care services and the NHS because both are essential to keeping elderly people well and living independently in their own homes."

Responding to the figures, the Local Government Minister, Kris Hopkins said: "Councils should be providing meals on wheels to those who need it as they are responsible for protecting front line services. They should also be keeping council tax down. There is far more scope for savings across the public sector by merging back offices, more joint working, cutting fraud, and embracing transparency to drive out waste and inefficiency."