Published On: Wed, Apr 1st, 2020

Deliveroo customers raise £130,000 amid firm’s pledge for 500,000 free meals for NHS | UK | News

DELIVEROO customers have donated over £130,000 to fund deliveries of free meals NHS staff in just a few days as the health service grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

The British food delivery service launched a fundraising appeal last Sunday.

Donations through the service have hit well over £100,000, according to Mail Online.

This is part of a scheme announced by the company to deliver 500,000 free meals to NHS workers across the country – though it will initially focus on London and Manchester.

Companies involved include Pizza Hut – which alone has pledged 300,000 meals – Burger King, Itsu, Neat Burger and others.

In a statement, Deliveroo said: “Deliveroo stands ready and hopes to deliver to NHS sites where there is a need for food, whether hospitals, primary care sites or field hospitals, for example sites such as the new Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre.”

CEO Will Shu added: “Thanks to our dedicated riders, the generosity of our restaurant partners and their teams who are keeping kitchens open to serve those most in need, we hope to be able to make a difference.”

The firm will work with hospitals over time to identify where need is greatest.

Some of the meals will also be given to the vulnerable.

Deliveroo said it has been working with homeless charity St Mungo’s and others to deliver free food to homeless people.

The firm and others like it have come under fire recently as part of wider criticism of the “gig economy” – in which workers are signed into short-term or freelance contracts to provide on-demand services such as Uber or Deliveroo, rather than more secure long-term positions.

This means workers get paid for each “gig” they do instead of earning a regular wage.

It also means that gig economy workers are often not entitled to any sort of minimum wage, sick or holiday pay, or unfair dismissal protection.

These issues have been magnified recently as the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a worldwide loss of jobs as economies have been hit by quarantining measures.

As a result, a minister has warned, gig economy workers who have to self-isolate with no sick pay may end up claiming benefits instead.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a bailout scheme for self-employed workers last week, in which the government will fund 80 percent of their income backdated to the beginning of March.

But self-employed workers may have to wait until the beginning of June before they see this money enter their bank accounts, according to the Independent.

In the midst of this, ride-hailing app Uber has launched a scheme to cover free meals and trips for NHS staff.

These benefits can be claimed by anyone with an NHS email address, the firm said.

NHS staff will also be eligible for a £10 voucher from the firm’s food delivery service, Uber Eats.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: “We hope we can help in a small way with means and transportation as they [NHS staff] work tirelessly day and night.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock added: “Everyone has a role to play in our national effort to help the NHS tackle coronavirus, so it’s great to see Uber playing their part by offering meals and trips to work for our brilliant NHS staff.”

Latest figures at the time of writing show that 29,474 people have been confirmed positive with coronavirus in the UK out of 152,979 tested. There have been 2,352 deaths.

Meanwhile, the government has admitted that just 2,000 of the half a million frontline NHS staff have been tested.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under fire for a lack of UK coronavirus testing.

At least 8,000 hospital patients and NHS staff are being tested daily, compared with 70,000 per day in Germany, the Guardian reports.

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