THE Meals on Wheels service in Caerphilly county borough could be scrapped in order to save the local authority more than £250,000 a year.
Caerphilly council councillors met on Thursday, to discuss the possible axing of the Meals Direct, which would affect around 336 people in the area who currently use the service.
A report presented to the authority’s heath social care and wellbeing committee said the move to save £252,000 was down to reduced funding from Welsh Government. The authority faces the unenviable task of making further savings of £6.54 million for 2015-16 and £7.06 million for 2016-17, having already agreed to the £14.53 million in savings for 2014/15.
Another option would be to increase the cost of the service from £2.60 per meal to between £3.10 and £5.10 – the most popular price range among other Welsh local authorities. Delivering frozen meals in bulk to residents is also an alternative.
But the report warns that increasing the price or delivering frozen meals could mean less demand for the service – putting the financial viability of the service in question.
If the service was scrapped altogether, then the possibility of local delivery from cafés and pubs would need to be explored, the report said.
Seven other councils in Wales are also considering scrapping their Meals on Wheels service.
A spokesman for Caerphilly council said: “This is one of a number of savings proposals being put forward as the authority faces unprecedented financial challenges over the coming years.
“These particular proposals have been discussed by members of the council’s health social care and wellbeing scrutiny committee. Those discussions will be fully considered at future meetings of cabinet and full council before any decisions are taken.”