A COUNCILLOR who has branded a decision to axe a meals on wheels service as “disgusting” say it will put vulnerable people at risk.

Barnet Council’s ruling Conservative party voted not to renew a contract with Sodexo, the company that supplies the service, when it expires next March.

They say people can temporarily rely food banks or other community food services, such as the Barnet Casserole Club.

Labour spokesperson for adult care, Cllr Reema Patel, said: “It’s completely disgusting that food banks might be considered a better alternative.

"Proposing food banks as a replacement for scrapping the home meals service for residents is reprehensible and demonstrates the depths to which Tory-run Barnet Council is now sinking to.

“For those that use the service the cost will be extraordinary to find an alternative like supermarket deliveries. How will the council assure they have access to food they need to survive?

“A huge number aren't able to access other community based food options.”

She added that other options should have been considered before the service was cut and as partnering with other boroughs to provide meals at a lower cost.

But the Conservatives say they have seen a 52 per cent drop in the numbers of people using the service.

The council pays £3.11 towards the cost of a £7.26 meal, with the user paying the rest – and have pledged to continue supplying residents with meals if they cannot find an alternative.

Cllr Sachin Rajput chairman of the adults and safeguarding committee hit back at Labour’s comments calling them “typically disingenuous” and “misleading”.

He claimed the report sent to the Adults and Safeguarding Committee on November 12 did not reccomend food banks as an alternative - despite the fact it is mentioned in an impact assesment.

He said: “The report which went to the Adults and Safeguarding Committee on 12 November did not recommend food banks as an alternative to the meals service.

“The report’s aim was to give members a full and clear picture of all community services in the borough that offer meals or advice to residents – a fact that was made clear to all members at the meeting.

“These alternatives will support people to stay independent in the community and offer them both more choice and the flexibility to vary which service they choose from day to day.

“The scale of the financial challenge means we have to look very carefully at every service the council currently provides.

“Since August, staff have been visiting everyone currently receiving the service to explain the proposals and talk through what other options would best suit them, for example lunch clubs in the local community or other catering companies from whom meals can be purchased directly.”