Coronavirus pandemic leaves UK taxi drivers in the firing line with no financial protection

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

The threat of a major spread of the virus is very real, with many industries already feeling the squeeze with so many choosing to stay in the confinement of their homes in the hope of not falling ill.

As a taxi driver and a self-employed worker, a city without movement means a job without purpose, leaving many concerned over finances and the ability to keep the wolves from their doors.

Being self-employed isn't exactly rocket science; you don't work, you don't earn. Which no doubt forces taxi drivers into the firing line of the fast spreading virus. But what happens if they are told they MUST stay at home?

With no way of earning a living, the stress caused by building debt and the possibility of bankruptcy for some could be far worse for their health than the virus itself.

The UK taxi industry is already one which forces some drivers to go above and beyond standard working hours due to its highly competitive nature. So lack of work, or even worse, the potential of no work, means there's never been a more important time for the government to step in and help the self-employed.

So what's being done?

Currently, the government does not have anything in place to allocate 'help-funds' to the self-employed should such forced isolation measures be put in place.

But a government petition to include the self-employed when considering statutory pay for those forced out of work is gaining traction, with almost 200,000 already signed to it.

The petition says: "4.8 million people are registered self-employed in the UK. Figures are of 2017 according to the Office of National Statistics.

"It would be easy enough to work out what each person is entitled to based on their tax returns.

"The self-employed make up 15% of UK's workforce. Majority are not entitled to any sick pay. I want the Government to include us in the recent changes to statutory sick pay because of the Corona19 virus. Excluding us means the Government are running the risk of said people continuing going to work as just like everyone else we have bills to pay and thus spreading the virus."

Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate, so self-employed taxi drivers can now only hope they, and all other self-employed workers, are considered for government help in such uncertain times.

Image credit: Pixabay

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