£15m of Birmingham’s Clean Air Fund earmarked for taxi drivers does little to quell cabbies anger

Birmingham City Council have announced that £15m of the city’s Clean Air Fund will be earmarked for taxi and private hire drivers. The move has done little to quell tensions between the two parties as cabbies enter day three of a planned two week protest against what they see as unfair treatment by the council. Many drivers have stated that direct action seems to be the only route left to them in getting the council to sit round the table with them to negotiate terms.

They are also furious at the way company's such as Uber, as well as drivers from other private hire companies, specifically those licensed in Wolverhampton, are being allowed to cross-border hire, potentially putting the public at risk, as well as being uncheckable due to those drivers being licensed outside of Birminghams City Councils' jurisdiction. In a series of tweets, West Midlands Police have issued a warning to taxi drivers, saying: “We’re aware of today’s demo by taxi drivers in Birmingham . If motorists are deliberately causing an obstruction, for example by getting out of their vehicles in the middle of the road or remaining in their vehicles while stationary, officers will take appropriate action.” Of the £38m awarded to the council from the Clean Air Fund, the following is allocated to Hackney carriage and private hire drivers as follows:

  • £5 million for a Hackney carriage support package

  • £2.75 million for a council-run Hackney carriage leasing scheme

  • £7 million for a private hire vehicle upgrade package

The £5 million allocated to cabbies covers:

  • £5,000 towards the running costs for Hackney carriage driver buying a new ULEV vehicle or

  • £5,000 towards the cost of an approved CVRAS retrofit solution for a Hackney carriage,

  • a leasing/try before you buy scheme for Hackney carriage drivers with a fleet of up to 50 council owned ULEV vehicles

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