Brent Council axes meals on wheels service in £300k cost-cutting exercise

Controversial plans by Brent Council to axe its meals on wheels service leaving vulnerable residents dependant on private companies were given the green light yesterday.

The cost-cutting measure will see individuals left to buy their meals directly from a variety of community groups, charities and local businesses

Residents could even order ‘meals to go’ from their favourite restaurants and takeaway food outlets using the Direct Payment card.

Brent Council said they have enlisted the services of charities Age UK and Elder’s Voice to help residents make the right choices.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, lead member for adult social care, said: “The traditional way of delivering meals on wheels has not been keeping people engaged with their local community.

“It’s also becoming uneconomical as demand for the service has reduced over the years.

“Using local suppliers is a great way of harnessing the talents and goodwill of Brent’s vast network of community groups to actually give residents more choice over what they eat.

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“There are also massive social benefits for this group of vulnerable and often isolated residents to having their food delivered by local people from their own communities. It will help people to feel more involved in what’s going on in their neighbourhoods which can only be a good thing.”

The scheme is expected to save the council £300,000 a year however Brent Fightback claim users of the service could be left to go hungry.

Member of the anti-cuts group held a protest outside Brent Civic Centre yesterday as an executive meeting which rubber-stamped the plans took place.

A Brent Fightback spokesman, said: “The council is ditching its contract for a meals and wheels provider and relying on charities and voluntary groups to pick up the pieces.

“If it goes wrong some of the most vulnerable people in the borough will be left without meals.

“Will it take a coroner’s inquest before they wake up to the risks involved if these arrangements were to fall through leave and vulnerable without meals?”