Independent Age is calling on supermarkets to lower their minimum spend thresholds for online shopping and look at reducing or eliminating delivery costs for people with priority slots.
The charity says this will help to avoid excluding many older people on low incomes whose vulnerable situation in the pandemic means they have been allocated priority delivery slots.
During the pandemic, many older people made the switch to online shopping. There were initial problems as demand outstripped capacity, 69% of non-shielding vulnerable (NSV) respondents to Independent Age’s access-to-food survey reported that they were struggling to access food because they couldn’t get an online shopping delivery slot.
People in later life said they are spending more on food and other essential groceries as a result of rising retail prices and shopping online. Respondents said shopping online is more expensive. This can be because they have to buy more than they normally would to reach the minimum spend and spend more on delivery costs.
Disability Rights 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.’
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