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ADCU welcome Scottish taxi & PHV driver financial support fund but say the amount is DISAPPOINTING

Image credit : ADCU/Pixabay/Ross Campbell remixed

The Scottish Government have, today, released details of a fund for the private hire and taxi trade after setting aside up to £28 million in support earlier this week.

The support fund will see individual drivers being awarded with £750 and there is also a series of top up grants being awarded to vehicle owners and taxi operators. The details of the support fund was given to trade stakeholders including trade unions, associations and federations earlier today and released by the Scottish Government this afternoon.

The support package was first announced by the First Minister on Wednesday 5 January following a large protest where drivers gathered in large numbers to stage a ‘sit in’ on George Square on 29 December at an event organised and led by the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU).

Within hours of the protest, ADCU reps in Scotland were called into an emergency meeting with Scottish Government officials to discuss the concerns of the trade, in particular surrounding the trade’s exclusion from Covid business support during the current period of renewed restrictions. Follow up meetings were then held with trade stakeholders the following day and then again this week after the First Minister’s announcement.

Image credit : ADCU

At a meeting, trade reps were told that the support fund of up to £28 million would be divided up so each individual driver would receive a one off grant of £750, while vehicle owners will get additional top ups in a tiered system depending on how many cars are in a fleet. Single vehicle owner-drivers will be eligible for a further £750 bringing their level of support to £1500.

Eddie Grice, Chair of ADCU Scotland, said: "We welcome the news that our trade will receive some support, but are disappointed that the level of support doesn’t go far enough. The headline figure of £28 million sounds great for a headline, but it translates to just £750 for each driver and just £1500 for an owner-driver. These figures don’t come close to mitigating the loss in costs that drivers have felt since mid-December.

"We made a strong case to the Scottish Government and requested a one off grant of £3000 per driver plus top ups for operators and vehicle owners, but The Scottish Government has come in with a figures much, much lower than that. £750 will help some drivers manage their debts a little bit, but it does very, very little in covering the losses they have experienced.

"We are also disappointed to hear that most drivers won’t be paid these grants until February. Drivers need immediate and urgent cashflow support to be able to survive January and the fact that the money isn’t coming for another 4 to 6 weeks will only push drivers into further debt.

"A further disappointment with the scheme is that drivers will only be eligible for this support if they received a grant from the previous rounds. This means any new entrants to the trade that have only been trading since last year won’t be eligible. These drivers are struggling just as much as the rest of us, probably more so if you consider that they probably have not clawed back their startup costs yet. Overall, the Scottish Government has not gone far enough to support the trade here. If restrictions are to continue further than mid January, it is imperative, vital, for the Scottish Government to look at these figures again and commit to delivering a level of support that is both meaningful and significant."


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