People with disabilities are taking legal action against supermarkets so they can buy food during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sheffield-based solicitors Fry Law have been contacted by up to 300 disabled people, who say the lockdown has seen supermarkets sideline them.
Unable to book food deliveries
Lawyer Chris Fry said most have sight and hearing loss, mobility problems or have stayed at home because of underlying health problems.
But he believes others have autism.
Some have been unable to book deliveries. Others struggle with queuing or need a companion to shop.
And some are complaining about being unable to buy multiple items if they have food allergies.
Registered as a vulnerable family
Beth Morrison, who runs Positive and Active Behaviour Support Scotland (PABSS), recently told Autism Eye how 21-year-old autistic son Calum eats only chicken or sausages from Sainsbury’s or Marks & Spencer.
Morrison said she had been unable to book a delivery.
But she says that her family are no longer experiencing problems, as the Scottish Government has registered them as a vulnerable family.
Fry said when supermarkets prevent people buying several items of the same brand it breaches their obligation to make reasonable adjustments.
He said the policy has a “significantly adverse outcome” on people with autism and allergies.
Increasing delivery slots
Andrew Opie is the British Retail Consortium’s director of food.
He stressed supermarkets are increasing delivery slots. He also said they are using dedicated shopping hours and volunteers to supply the vulnerable.
But he said deliveries account for just eight per cent of all food sales. It would be “impossible”, he said, to deliver to all vulnerable people.
He urged neighbours to help by “picking up food from stores”.
Published: 30 April 2020