Released On 7th Nov 2023
New Meals on Wheels provision report
A new report has revealed that only 29% of Meals on Wheels services are still in operation across the UK, and fewer than 18% in England. The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) has called for Governmental intervention following the publication of the report, researched and written by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).
Meals on Wheels supports vulnerable people to live independently in the community by reducing the risk of malnutrition, loneliness or social isolation. Alongside at least one nutritious hot meal every day, the regular caring contact aims to reduce avoidable health and care costs, as well as providing support for carers.
Meals on Wheels are not statutory for local authorities to provide, so councils can remove the service to save money even though BAPEN reports that malnutrition costs the UK taxpayer £19bn per annum.
As part of this year’s Meals on Wheels Week, which ran from 30th October to 3rd November 2023, the NACC has called on Government to:
Ensure councils receive urgent funding to directly support the continuation of existing meals on wheels services including direct funding to reinstate meals on wheels services lost in recent years.
Consider Meals on Wheels a statutory responsibility to safeguard its future.
Consider other additional alternative support such as VAT relief for service providers and help with food and fuel inflation which has impacted on the financial viability of the service.
The NACC, along with several other signatories, that include Age UK and Care England, has written to MPs to raise its concerns for the future of Meals on Wheels services and for the far reaching ramifications if the service was to be lost completely.
NACC chair, Neel Radia commented, 'With councils facing a funding gap of some £7bn in adult social care, cutting a service which is relatively low-cost in offering multiple lines of support to vulnerable adults is frankly a cheap cut. The benefits of the service far outweigh the costs. Removing a preventative service for the most vulnerable in our communities is short-sighted.
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