More than 20 UK charities have written a joint letter to the bosses of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, imploring retailers to suspend delivery charges for people most at risk from COVID-19.
The chief executives of Independent Age, Macmillan, Alzheimer’s Society, Scope and Carers UK are among the charities making the plea directly to the CEOs of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Iceland, Waitrose and Ocado.
They say it is unfair to ask those who are shielding and people at greater risk from COVID-19 to stay at home to protect themselves and the NHS, and yet also have to take a financial hit just to access food.
Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Independent Age, said: “As the country enters a third week of another national lockdown, many people who are most at risk from coronavirus are once again having to make an extremely difficult decision – to risk their health by going to a supermarket or to take on extra costs to have their food delivered.
“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.
“No one at risk should be financially penalised for following the official advice to stay home. We know that free deliveries made a huge difference to people in the previous lockdown. We urge supermarkets to step up again and suspend the charges for people who are confined to their homes at this difficult time.”
Throughout the pandemic many supermarkets have taken steps to help those most at risk from COVID-19, including creating priority delivery slots for those who are at greater risk to ensure they are able to book a grocery delivery.
The charities are asking supermarkets to act once again to help those customers who are most at risk, or face severe challenges shopping safely.