A campaigner for those with disabilities has warned vulnerable people in the north-east face becoming isolated as a result of “selfish” behaviour during lockdown.
Ron Holding, the vice-chair of Aberdeen’s Disability Equity Partnership, said activities such as panic-buying, stockpiling and booking multiple delivery slots during the first lockdown last year led to vulnerable people becoming unable to access key items such as food.
Mr Holding, who uses a wheelchair, warned a repeat of those scenes would lead to people living with disabilities, especially those who live alone, becoming more lonely and isolated.
And he called for “a little bit of consideration” for the needs of others following the introduction of further lockdown measures.
“Especially during the first lockdown, there were a lot of people who would stockpile items or book up lots of delivery slots which is just beyond belief,” Mr Holding said.
“It’s totally inappropriate and shows a level of selfishness in society. There’s a refusal to even acknowledge people have a greater need.
“As a result of behaviour like this, people become even more vulnerable and more disadvantaged.
“People need to stand back and consider who else is around them. Unfortunately, there is too much of a ‘me, me, me’ approach.
“A little bit of consideration can make life more bearable.
“Everyone is under pressure at the moment but it’s not what happens that matters – it’s how you deal with it.”
Mr Holding’s warning followed a plea from Age Scotland for ministers to put together an “action plan” to support vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those living with disabilities.
Aberdeen councillor Steve Delaney, who won cross-party support on a motion calling for more support for vulnerable people, said:
“This latest lockdown is necessary to keep people safe and to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed which, in plain terms, means having to take life or death decisions because they simply don’t have the beds or the staff to save everyone. It really is that serious.
“This is going to be hard for all of for different reasons but it once again has the potential to hit people who live alone, the hardest. The Scottish Government needs to ensure sufficient resources are made available organisations who support people living alone who have no family support. These would include mental health charities and others supporting elderly people and people with disabilities.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have made £15 million of funding available to local authorities already at protection level 4 to strengthen their local response and support the needs of people in their communities who don’t have support networks and are struggling with the restrictions or guidance, particularly those most at risk through health or social inequalities.
“This could include people at higher clinical risk, older people or disabled people who encounter barriers that emerge, for example in accessing food and other essential items.”