FOOD parcels initially provided for free, will now come with a charge according to the council.

The parcels, which are distributed by Wiltshire Council from Five Rivers in Salisbury, to vulnerable people who are either self-isolating due to health conditions or have self-defined as vulnerable via a government portal.

The boxes will cost £20 and will cover "at least" three days food for one person, with meat and vegetarian options, or up to £25 if the household has a specialist dietary requirement, such as being gluten-free.

A council spokesperson said: “The food parcels were initially provided free of charge but in line with other local authorities we are introducing a charge and residents will need to pay for the food parcel where possible.

“However, we appreciate that not every household can afford to pay for their food parcel and in these circumstances, they can apply for local welfare assistance from the council which will cover the cost of the food parcel.

“If anyone is in need of emergency food, that might be because they have not received a food parcel via a government delivery, have not been able to secure a supermarket delivery slot, do not have local support that can help them get food or are in financial difficulty.

"In these situations, the council can provide an emergency food parcel.

"The council is receiving lists of vulnerable people who are either shielding due to health conditions or have self-defined themselves as vulnerable via the Government portal. 

"The hub is then proactively making contact with them to discuss their circumstances. The hub is open 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 4pm at the weekend for anyone who has support needs."

The council has provided 440 boxes since they started delivery the food parcels over the last two weeks.