HARROW Unison local government branch has launched a campaign against Harrow Council’s plans to increase its charges for its Meals on Wheels service by over £2,000 a year.
Unison said it ‘is outraged and appalled at the frightening changes being considered by Harrow Council to its Meals on Wheels (MoW) service within the Adult services Social Care Consultation.’
Harrow Unison assistant branch secretary Darren Butterfield said: ‘We believe the increases are abhorrent and completely unnecessary.
‘Unison has informed Harrow Council that the two ill-considered price rise options will disproportionately hit Harrow’s oldest and most vulnerable pensioners, leaving the poorest members of the community to shoulder this heavy financial burden.’
Unison further warned: ‘It may also lead to the closure of this important service which safeguards and assists the Council to enable residents to live in their own homes safely.
‘For pensioners most dependent on MoW, this could mean annual increases of between £611.52 up to an eye-watering £2,271.36 per annum.
‘The proposals will also hit ethnically diverse users of Harrow’s cultural and religious based meals, as prices more than double, negatively impacting upon those from Asian and Jewish backgrounds.’
Unison added: ‘Branch analysis has confirmed that Option 1 proposes to set the same rate for a hot and frozen meal at £6.47.
‘This increases the cost of a hot meal by 39 per cent which equates to an annual increase of £611.52. A frozen meal will rise by 116 per cent equating to a yearly increase of £1,165.92.
‘Option 2 proposes extortionate and discriminatory rises against users of Asian and Jewish meals.
‘For example, a hot kosher meal will increase by 119 per cent to £10.19. A frozen kosher meal rises by 225 per cent which equates to an annual rise of £2,271.36.
‘An Asian meal will rise by 71 per cent (from £4.65 to £7.95) or an annual increase of £1,108.80.’
The ‘Consultation’ ended on the 12th August 2011 and the Council intends to make its final decision in the October 2011 session of Cabinet.