A MEALS-ON-WHEELS service for pensioners in Cradley Heath, Rowley Regis and Oldbury has been saved by a Sandwell MP.

Sandwell Council proposed to transfer remaining users to reheated frozen meals in July and increase prices but have backed down after the intervention of West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson.

The service is provided jointly by the council and private company Apetito.

Mr Watson said: “With the £100 million worth of government cuts Sandwell Council has had to absorb, it would have been all too easy for this service to be scaled back.

“I am delighted Sandwell Council has decided to think again and keep a hot fresh delivered meal service for those in need.”

In 2009 Mr Watson helped block the transfer all users to frozen meals and the council made a decision to retain an in-house hot meals service and re-tender the external frozen meals service instead.

Mr Watson added: “Meals on wheels are vital to many elderly people in Sandwell and with some changes I believe the service can continue to be sustainable in the future. If we can produce hot fresh meals for children, then we should be able to do the same for those elderly pensioners in need.”

Sandwell Council now plans to consider alternative proposals to meet efficiencies within meals on wheels, whilst service users will continue to have the option of a hot fresh delivered meal, or a frozen option to heat up at home from private company Apetitio.

The company provides frozen food and catering to care homes, local authorities and hospitals across the country.

The Meals on Wheels service currently operates seven days per week across Sandwell.