Havering meals on wheels users face price hike

Meals on wheels service users are facing a 33 per cent increase on the cost of the meals from April.

The service is provided to people who are unable to prepare main meals for themselves. One hot meal is delivered to customers every day of the week. They can also have extra snacks delivered.

The service has so far been subsidised by council tax contributions. But users will now have to pay more ₤1.23 more per meal per day.

Instead of �3.76 per meal, users will be paying �4.99. The council, which delivers 127,000 meals a year in Havering, will pay 14p to make up the full cost of �5.13.

Cllr Steven Kelly, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “We have worked hard this year, despite considerable increases in the cost of food and petrol, to reduce the cost of each meal to us.

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“Following a detailed consultation we will be increasing the charge we make to customers to �4.99 from April 11, this guarantees a non-profit service.”

One woman, who works with a woman who receives meals on wheels, said: “The people who get the meals are vulnerable. It will add up to a lot of money that they will have to pay and they will struggle to pay for it.

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“I know the council has to make its cutbacks, but the council tax has always helped subsidise the cost.

“Now these people will have to pay the full cost.”

Cllr Clarence Barrett, leader of the Residents’ Association, said: “By imposing such an increase, it may lead to a reduction in demand as residents have to reconsider whether or not they can afford the service.

“We need to be mindful of the impact this increase will have on our elderly and vulnerable residents.”

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