Councillor Sachin Rajput said
“We will also be visiting everyone currently receiving the service to explain the proposal and to talk through which other options would best suit them should the proposal be agreed - for example lunch clubs or other catering companies."
In 2007, when Barnet Council outsourced the service, my elderly and severely disabled mother had a similar visit. What was meant to be part of the consultation was simply a box ticking exercise. Despite my mother being on Morphine at the time and having speech issues due to a stroke, she saw right through the dishonesty. They told here not to worry as everything would be the same and she would notice no difference . She replied "will it be the same person delivering it". The response "erm no". Will it be the same meals. Response "erm no" She then asked "will it come at the same time". The response "I don't know". To which my mum replied "you are lying when you say I won't notice. Do you think I am stupid. Everything is changing" and she was right. But at least she got a meal. Under the new proposals she'd get nothing.
The council propose lunch clubs or other suppliers. They Are simply washing their hands of supporting vulnerable people. What happens if a private company fails to deliver? With the council, there is a whole organisation to provide backup, but if a private company dumps the service or a charity can't support it, then vulnerable people starve.
Barnet Council seem to have forgotten what they are elected to do. Apparently the service costs £180,000 a year. The director of adult services who is proposing the change, Dawn Wakeling, gets a salary of £164,000, which do you think provides better value?
Meals on wheels allows elderly people to live independently. It is far cheaper for elderly people to live at home than to put them into council paid for care. They need meals on wheels because they physically can't cook. In my mums case, she wasn't able to use a telephone to complain. She simply had my phone number on speed dial and a panic line.
Many elderly don't have local family. For them meals on wheels is a lifeline and the fact that Rajput simply sees it as a plate of hot food shows how out of touch with the reality of the lives of vulnerable people he really is. This visit will simply be a box ticking exercise. The vulnerable people on the end of this cruel cut are in no position to argue. For many it will be scary and upsetting. It is only just over a year since the Tories won on Barnet Council elections. There was no mention of this cut in their manifesto. Did Rajput tell you he was abolishing the services when he knocked on your door and asked for your vote? Thought not