Supermarkets are being called on to scrap delivery charges for their most vulnerable customers being forced to shield.
Over 20 leading UK charities, including Age UK and Disability Rights UK, have written to the chief executives of the country’s leading supermarkets, The Grocer reported.
The group have called on Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Iceland, Waitrose and Ocado to scrap delivery fees for those “who are most at risk from coronavirus”, so that they are not forced to choose between risking their health by visiting stores in person or taking on extra costs to have food delivered.
According to the letter, delivery charges and minimum spends “represent a disproportionately high cost” for vulnerable shoppers on lower incomes putting them in “real financial trouble”.
It also pointed out that during the first lockdown, some supermarkets scrapped delivery fees and reduced minimum spending for priority customers, but those measures have not been brought back as the country endures its third national lockdown.
“People living alone have told us they don’t spend enough on food each week to reach the minimum spend for free delivery, and for those already on lower incomes, the extra delivery charge is a real burden,” Independent Age’s chief executive Deborah Alsina said.
“No one at risk should be financially penalised for following the official advice to stay home.
“We urge supermarkets to step up again and suspend the charges for people who are confined to their homes at this difficult time.”
Late last year Independent Age commissioned research which found that 77 per cent of UK citizens believe those who are unable to shop in supermarkets should not be forced to pay delivery charges, while a further 81 per cent agree minimum spends should be scrapped.