Thursday, 21 February 2008

Meals on wheels go into orbit

Last night our local newspaper reported that Sandwell Council’s Adult Services & Health committee had unanimously approved a massive 30% increase in charges for meals on wheels. Quite rightly some local people are disgusted by this decision and so am I. Last May Sandwell Council adopted a report from a select committee it had formed to consider the needs of older people in the borough. I gave evidence to this select committee. The philosophy behind the report was that all older people should be able to live, safe, dignified and fulfilled lives. There was a lot about reducing poverty and providing help when it was needed. A strategy document call Living Well in Later Life underpinned the select committee report and an Older Peoples Partnership Board is being formed to monitor what should be happening as the strategy unfolds.
If the newspaper report is correct it would appear from this decision that either the Adult Services & Health committee have not read the report or have ignored its findings.
There as also been discussion documents from the local government association called All Our Tomorrows which this decision seems to fly in the face of. I hope the Partnership Board will take this matter seriously and censure the committee to get this decision reversed. In the meantime I am calling on my Councillor to lobby to get this appalling decision reversed and I am calling for this uncaring committee and the officers who advise it to resign.
A 30% increase on meals after a 15% increase in fuel costs with only a 2.1% increase in pensions is an absolute disgrace. Where do they think the extra money is going to come from? It only affects 495 of the most vulnerable people in Sandwell. Shame on you.

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