East Sussex meals on wheels subsidy could be scrapped by county council

Meals on Wheels service.C119910-2 ENGPPP00120111230152959
Meals on Wheels service.C119910-2 ENGPPP00120111230152959

The subsidy for meals on wheels in East Sussex could be scrapped by the county council as it looks to make more cost savings.

Back in 2015 Apetito’s contract to run meals in the community ended as the authority moved away from a single provider arrangement.

However facing the need to find £46m of savings over the next three years East Sussex County Council is considering removing the entire £483,000 subsidy that supports clients to pay for their meals from a range of different providers.

They would then have to pay the full cost of the service.

The proposals are contained in £12.3m suggested savings for the next three years, leaving the county council another £33.4m to find under a worst-case scenario.

This also comes as the council published its ‘core offer’, which sets out what services it should be able to provide with the level of financial resources available over the next three years.

Keith Glazier, leader of the county council, said: “We will be consulting on it. At the end of the day withdrawing support for anything is not going to be welcomed but it’s a balance and a decision that we need to take and we need to be assured that people will still get the nourishment and needs individually that they have.”

In her report chief executive Becky Shaw described how the core offer ‘is not the ideal that we would wish to be able to provide but seeks to capture what is most appropriate and possible in a time of austerity’.

The core offer is due to discussed by the council’s cabinet next Tuesday (November 13) and then public engagement would be held on the proposals.

Any budget decisions for the next financial year 2019/20 would be made in February by all councillors.

Other proposals included in the £12.3m savings programme are potential funding reductions to the library service, increased on-street parking charges where possible, a possible reduction in the number of household waste recycling sites, changing the monitoring of school performance to a ‘light-touch approach’, cutting back on some preventative work and reviewing both early help services and care packages for working age adults.