Some of the district’s most vulnerable pensioners may not be able to afford to eat if a potential meals on wheels price hike goes ahead, it has been claimed.

The warning came from Pat Clark, who organises a weekly Age Concern luncheon club in Maldon, after Essex County Council launched a consultation as it plans to raise the price of meals from £3.95 to £4.79.

More than 1,000 elderly people across the county benefit from the hot food service, including 42 in the Maldon district.

County Hall has ruled out axing the service, understood to cost £260,000 a year, but is considering removing its 84p subsidy, meaning pensioners would have to pay the full £4.79 cost.

The council, which would not confirm how much cash the move would save, claims the number of people taking up the meals has dwindled.

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