Skip to main content

Meals on wheels sums it all up...

If you’re looking for a policy which sums up the way Southwark Council has been run since 2002, you could hardly do better than the Lib Dem/Tory policy towards the meals on wheels service. This is a service which delivers meals to vulnerable and elderly people in their homes.

In 2008 they decided to increase the cost of a single meal from the council’s meals on wheels service from £2.20 to £3.20. For people already struggling to make ends meet this was a really significant increase. For some it stretched their finances to breaking point. Shocking stuff for anyone who still thought that Liberal Democrats were supposed to be a nice bunch of well-meaning, community minded activists. By anyone’s standard this was mean-hearted stuff, particularly given that the measure was projected to raise just £150,000. A significant amount of money, but not a king’s ransom in terms of local authority spending when we’re talking about an important and popular service. Surely, the savings could have been found elsewhere, possibly by cutting the amount of money the council spends on consultants or by collecting a tiny amount of extra council tax.

But suppose you’re a real scrooge - the kind of person who doesn’t care if elderly and vulnerable people aren’t able to get a warm, nutritious meal - you might think this kind policy is justifiable because it raises £150k of extra money. A pretty strident right-winger might try to justify this kind of policy on the grounds that it tightens the council’s finances. But even in these terms the policy, backed by Peckham Rye Lib Dems and Tories, still doesn’t make sense.

As a result of the price hike, large numbers of people stopped using the meals on wheels service. This year, the reduction in take-up has lead to the council raising £70,000 less than it thought it would. Click here if you’d like to see the figures for yourself (page 6). The Lib Dems and Tories have created a huge amount of upset and disruption for some very vulnerable people, and all for a relatively tiny amount of money.

And this is just one example among many others. A toxic mix of incompetence and some very dodgy political positioning is damaging the lives of everyone in Southwark, but all too often it is the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable who are the first to suffer.


Popular posts from this blog

Know Your Ryes!

A few weeks ago I was in a meeting with some local residents and council officers. During the meeting one person started referring to Rye Lane, when in fact they meant Peckham Rye East. Later on another started talking about Peckham Rye Common and it took us a little while to work out that they really meant Peckham Rye Park.  
You can't really blame people for getting a little confused. There are so many references to "Rye" in our little bit of South London that even the locals can get mixed up. So I thought I'd have a go at writing a little glossary of all the Ryes hereabout.  Clearly I'm making a rod for my own back here, so please point out any errors I've made in the comments box below. 
Anyway, here are my definitions of the ubiquitous Ryes. Some serious, some not so serious, and in no particular order:
Peckham Rye Ward - The council ward area. Peckham Rye Ward was created out of Rye Ward, Waverley Ward and Bellenden Ward following the Local Authority Bo…

Free schools: A project cooked up by Tories who claim to be committed to social mobility has failed our children

(This post from Victoria about the closure of 'Southwark Free School', first appeared on LabourList.)

Last week saw the demise of yet another free school. Southwark Primary, which opened four-and-a-half-years ago in temporary buildings, will hastily close by February half-term never having made it to its permanent site, after being developed at great public expense. As Southwark council steps in to pick up the pieces and find places for children at other local schools it is difficult not to grind the axe about the government’s free school programme. We remain pragmatic that the programme is here to stay. However the government must reconsider the need for free school applicants to have a local and outstanding educational experience. At a time when many areas are experiencing a shortage of school places, and schools’ budgets are being cut, they must also stop wasting money building schools where there is no established demand. The story of free schools in Southwark makes clear …

Salt giveaway details

Southwark Council is giving away salt at the locations below. Click on the image to enlarge it.