Supermarket delivery slots should be free for those who are shielding, charities say

Supermarket deliveries should be free for people who are shielding, a coalition of major charities has urged.

The group, led by Independent Age, said that those who are extremely clinical vulnerable have been left with no choice but to rely on online delivery but that the cost could be prohibitive for many.


A delivery slot can cost as much as £7, on top of a minimum spend of £40. Some grocers waived these charges for vulnerable customers earlier in the pandemic, and the coalition of charities urged them to do so again.


The group, which also includes Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK and Carers UK, wrote to the chief executives of the UK’s biggest supermarkets to say it is unfair that those who are shielding have to take a financial hit in order to protect the NHS.


Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Independent Age, said that free deliveries had made a huge difference during the previous lockdown.


She added: “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.”


Supermarkets have more than doubled the number of weekly delivery slots they are able to provide and have been prioritising the vulnerable.


Waitrose said it does not have a delivery charge and recently reduced its minimum order value to £40.


Tesco said it continues to ring fence priority slots for the vulnerable but the cost for delivery has been brought into line with other customers.


Sainsbury’s said it offers £1 saver slots and that its delivery pass offers “great value” for those who shop regularly, while Morrisons said its dedicated “doorstep delivery” service offers elderly, vulnerable or self-isolating customers home delivery with no minimum spend.


Ocado said the vast majority of deliveries are free via its “smart pass”, although this comes with a monthly fee.


Source: The Telegraph