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Temporary reprieve won for Meals on Wheels customers

March 28, 2012 5:49 PM

The county council has announced that they will be writing to all meals on wheels customers in Warwickshire, informing them that the previously announced 9th April price rise from £4.00 per meal to £4.25 will be cancelled until a further review has taken place.

This follows a campaign by Lib Dem County Councillor Kate Rolfe (Stratford) who has been concerned about information supplied at the time of the passing of the contract to supply meals to Nottinghamshire County Council from the previous supplier, WRVS.

At yesterday's county council meeting (27th March) Kate challenged the Portfolio Holder over the rise and raised questions about Nottinghamshire's expectations from the contract. The price rise will now be looked at by an Overview and Scrutiny committee on 11th April and their conclusions will be forwarded to the Cabinet for a decision on whether the price rise goes ahead.

"At the moment users of this service - mainly the elderly - are headed for another inflation busting increase", said Kate. ''The last price rise to £4.00 a meal on 1st June 2011 represented a 60% price increase in just 3 years. Many elderly people will really struggle to pay a higher price and will increasingly be discouraged from using this service, which not only provides a hot meal but also a friendly face and a check on their well-being".

Kate added, 'There are many questions that need answering before any increase goes ahead. For the coming year the county council has put aside an extra £13.3 million into its reserves, for contingencies. I can think of no more important contingency than keeping old people properly fed and I'm suggesting that just a small part of this sum is used to freeze the meals on wheels price".

Councillor Rolfe is particularly concerned about the current contract to supply meals by County Enterprise Foods, owned by Nottinghamshire County Council. County Enterprise Foods took over the service on 1st May 2010 from the WRVS (Women's Royal Voluntary Service). The contract envisaged 252,000 meals a year being supplied but it is understood that last year actual deliveries were running at a rate of around 150,000 a year.

At the time Nottinghamshire County Council said that they aimed to make a profit of £100,000 a year from the contract. "I would like to know whether the price increase is due to another council making profits from supplying Warwickshire pensioners", said Kate.