Elderly receiving meals on wheels declines by almost two thirds
20th January 2015
New statistics announced by a Freedom of Information request have revealed that 63 per cent of elderly people are no longer receiving meals on wheels. This decline is thought to show a drop of 220,000 fewer meals being delivered, which may be due to the rising costs of the service. This means that many elderly people with mobility restrictions who rely on disabled stairlifts and home care are no longer receiving meals.
84 per cent of English councils replied following the FOI request by Labour, and the figures returned showed that in 2014/15, vulnerable members of society were delivered 109,000 meals. This has been compared with the 296,000 provided in 2009/10 in the final year of the Labour government.
Pensioners receiving meals on wheels halves under coalition
This has more than halved, with Labour claiming that the cost of a single meal had risen by 22% since the coalition had been in power, meaning an added cost of £237 a year. The largest drop occurred from 2013/14 to the current year, with meals on wheels assistance falling by 49%.
The sharp decline is said by the Local Government Association to have happened due to a shortage in funding, who also provided a warning that adult social care was in ‘crisis’. Councillor Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s community, stated that councils will have to find up to £2.6 billion savings next year, which is likely to encourage further cuts.
The daily meal and contact with another person is a lifeline for many, and without this, a number of elderly people may not be able to receive the care they deserve and remain independent in their own homes. Although local councils are trying to protect their elderly residents, there is currently not enough money in the system to provide a quality and efficient level of care.
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