South East Wales

Caerphilly council's meals on wheels service faces axe

Meals on wheels service vehicle
Image caption Cooked meals on wheels are currently delivered to residents in their own homes

Council-funded meals on wheels could be scrapped in Caerphilly county in a bid to save £252,000 a year.

About 336 people who currently use the service could instead be made to pay for the meals themselves.

Other options being considered include increasing the price of the service or delivering frozen meals in bulk instead.

A report to councillors said the service had made a financial loss in recent years which must be addressed.

The proposals are part of the council's bid to save of £6.5m for the 2015/16 financial year.

It comes after local government minister Lesley Griffiths announced last month that authorities across Wales should prepare for funding cuts of up to 4.5% next year.

The authority said ending its Meals Direct service would result in staff redundancies or redeployments.

If that option was agreed, the council said it would investigate if cafes and pubs could take over the service - but said users would need to pay for it themselves.

'Lost money'

Issuing frozen meals could help reduce costs because fewer deliveries would be made, but some people with greater care needs would still need help to cook the meals, the report said.

Another option being considered is charging more for the service in a move which could see prices rise from £2.60 to between £3.10 and £5.10, in line with other authorities.

Alternatively, the council could continue to provide the service, but the report warned it had lost money in the past few years and it needed to bridge the funding gap.

Meals are currently provided to residents in their own homes following a social services needs assessment.

Some people who receive them also receive extra care, including help to cook their food.

The report said seven other councils were also considering scrapping meals on wheels services.

Caerphilly council's heath social care and wellbeing committee will discuss the proposal at a meeting on Thursday.

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