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Charities call for delivery charges and minimum spends to be scrapped for shielders

16 December 2020

DR UK is supporting calls for supermarkets to scrap delivery charges for people most at risk of Coronavirus this winter.

Independent Age, the older people’s charity, has published a new report warning that many people are facing mounting costs as they struggle to access food over Christmas. The charity, which leads a consortium on food access during the pandemic including DR UK, is appealing for action as people who cannot shop in supermarkets due to health risks – and at the advice of the Government – are being unfairly penalised through delivery charges and minimum spends on online supermarket shopping.

In April, supermarkets worked with the government to introduce priority slots for people of all ages at most risk from the virus, and many of these slots had no delivery charges. Since August, with the partial easing of restrictions, some supermarkets have been reintroducing delivery charges for all priority slots.

Fears have also been raised that social distancing and other safety measures are not being properly enforced in supermarkets.

Recent Independent Age / YouGov polling* shows that three quarters of people (77%) agree that those who are unable to shop in supermarkets due to their age or underlying health conditions should not have to pay online delivery charges.

There is even more support for the removal of minimum spends on grocery deliveries. 81% of people agree that minimum spends on online orders should be scrapped for those who are unable to shop in supermarkets due to the health risk.

DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “In November, DR UK asked all the major supermarkets to confirm their policies on help with food supply for shielders. This work has informed the consortium’s campaigning this Autumn and Winter. Not one supermarket now offers free delivery, and all have a minimum spend policy.

“This is in effect a tax on Disabled people who do not have the option of safely shopping in person in their local shops to get best value. It is practically impossible for Disabled people who are living on benefits to afford these charges.

“We join the calls for the removal of minimum spends and delivery charges. For Disabled people, these should be treated as reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act.”

Read the responses DR UK received from supermarkets here: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/coronavirus#Shopping