More than a quarter of vulnerable people could be at risk of going hungry because they have struggled to get basic food and essential groceries, according to Which?.
A new survey for the consumer group has found that 28% vulnerable people across the UK had faced difficulty getting the food provision they needed in the week before they were recently surveyed.
In the UK, two in five (40%) situationally vulnerable people reported having difficulties getting essentials in the week prior to being surveyed.
In Wales and Scotland, this number rose to nearly half (47% and 46% respectively), compared to almost two in five (38%) in Northern Ireland and more than a quarter (27%) in England.
Which? has also heard reports of care home workers forced to queue in busy supermarkets several times a day for basics like bread and milk – risking further spread of the virus – because they could not secure the delivery slots that they needed to provide for their residents.
Other concerning reports included a 93-year-old lady who had to wait 11 weeks for her first food parcel despite registering in week one and a 71-year-old with shingles who had to wait a month between supermarket click and collect slots.
Those who were previously told to self-isolate because they are over 70, pregnant or otherwise considered clinically vulnerable had had the fewest problems getting food in the last week according to Which?’s survey.
A fifth (20%), however, did struggle.
‘Which? is now calling for the UK’s four governments to work with the food industry, local authorities and charities to ensure a longer-termplan for supporting all of those who are at risk and need support is in place by the end of July, so that no vulnerable person faces difficulties in accessing the basic food supplies they need,’ said the consumer group’s head of protection and food policy, Sue Davies.
Responding to the findings, the chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, said: ‘We urge anybody who is struggling with access to food, whether they are part of the shielded cohort or vulnerable for other reasons, to contact their local council who will be able to help put in place arrangements to support them.’
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