Elderly face 260% meals on wheels price hike
Many elderly residents in Southwark are paying 260% more for their meals on wheels service this year after price hikes introduced by the Labour council.
In May 2010, Southwark Labour’s manifesto pledged to reduce the cost of meals on wheels by half to £1.71. This target was reached in November 2013.
But service users have been notified by the Council that under its new ‘Fairer Contributions’ policy for adult social care the previous flat-rate charge has been abolished and replaced by a new rate based on people’s presumed ability to pay.
While some Southwark residents will pay nothing, others face increases of up to 260% with the cost of a meal spiralling to £6.24. The new charges started in April.
Service users were required to complete a financial assessment and return it to the Council. The assessment considers the resident’s income, savings and outgoings and then calculates how much they have to contribute for their meals service. Any user who did not respond by the deadline has to pay the full £6.24 cost as a default irrespective of income.
Labour made a clear promise to halve the cost to residents of its meals on wheels service. Yet just two and a half years later some users are facing a 260% price increase.
The introduction of a free service for some while others struggle to find the money for this huge increase has created a two-tier system of care in Southwark. It’s also a bit Big Brother that the Council is demanding to know all about older people’s savings and income.
The Council must monitor the impact of these massive price hikes and make sure people are not choosing to go without food because they can no longer afford meals on wheels.
It’s a complete betrayal of everything Labour promised older people just a few years ago.