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17.09.19

Council re-think scrapping meals in the community

Subsidised meals in the community could be kept for some residents depending on senior councillor consideration.

Over the summer, East Sussex County Council considered plans to remove the meals in the community subsidy in a bid to make almost £1m of savings from adult social care.

Subsequently, the council have received over 500 responses of varying support to the suggestion and have therefore altered their position, proposing to keep the subsidy for the most vulnerable adults in the area who otherwise wouldn’t be able to pay for the service.

The results obtained in the Council’s report suggest that 39% of people who are currently receiving the subsidy would choose to pay the full cost themselves in order to keep receiving meals.  With 49% saying that they would be unlikely to continue using the service if they had to pay the full cost.

Original plans were forecasted to save £483,000 from the meals in the community budget in 2019-20, and £495,000 by 2020-21.

Councillor Carl Maynard, lead member for adult social care, will consider the proposals and public feedback on the issue at a meeting on Tuesday 24 September. He will also have the opportunity to assess the results of the consultations and equality impact assessments.

Keith Hinkley, county council director of adult social care, defended the initial proposals: “We have had to make £130m savings this decade, and continuing financial pressures mean difficult decisions have to be made.

“However, we have taken into account people’s concerns and the proposal for meals in the community is a sensible approach which means the most vulnerable will continue to receive the subsidy, while still allowing us to make savings.

“We know people are worried about the proposals, but everyone affected will have an individual review before any changes to their support are suggested, and as at present they will have the right to appeal if they don’t agree with what’s proposed.”

The meals in the community subsidy currently stands at £4.10 per person which goes towards the full cost of each meal, ranging from £4 to £8. Of the 679 people who are currently receiving the aid for meals in the community, it is predicted that around 100-150 would still be entitled to receive it.

 

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