Meals on Wheels could cost customers more than £300 extra a year if a proposed removal of a council subsidy goes ahead.

Essex County Council has begun a six-week consultation into the service, which currently costs £3.95 per meal.

This could rise to £4.79 if the subsidy was removed, costing daily customers an additional £305.76 a year.

The authority cites “considerable financial challenges” as the reason for the consultation, as well as expected inflation and an increasing demand for its services.

Cllr Anne Brown, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “I am aware that for some residents meals on wheels is a vital service, however as alternative options have appeared in the market – such as supermarket home delivery and community lunch clubs – the number of customers has fallen which means it is difficult to continue to provide the service in its current guise and provide value for money for Essex taxpayers.”

The consultation will end on July 7 and can be found here.