Essex taxi drivers join local Council Leader to highlight funding issues facing the industry

Taxi drivers from Essex joined in on a meeting with a local Council Leader to highlight the issues facing the industry during the pandemic.

More than 30 taxi, private hire and minicab drivers who operate across the Basildon borough joined the Leader of Basildon Council, Gavin Callaghan, for a Zoom meeting to find out about the financial support available to them during the pandemic.

The cabbies also found out first hand how regeneration plans for Basildon town centre may improve their forecast for the future.

The Leader of Basildon Council, Gavin Callaghan, said: "I know this has been a difficult year for everyone, from our residents to our businesses large and small - I've put regular engagement at the heart of our support. That's why I'm using as many different ways as I can to hear from people directly on the challenges they are facing and how the council can help them. Whether that is via Facebook Live updates or Zoom meetings, I hope everyone involved has found them helpful and informative.

"Today's virtual meeting with the taxi industry was really productive. They shared with me their issues on everything from bus lanes to coronavirus related business grants. I hope they found the meeting helpful and they now know the financial support available to them and that we are looking at the issues they raised. From having taxi drivers in the family - I knew it would be a frank and honest discussion.

"With the news of coronavirus cases rising in Basildon, it was also good to get their support with getting the message out to fellow drivers and passengers on how important it is to follow the rules to try and get the numbers down by socially distancing, wearing a face covering and washing your hands."

TaxiPoint have approached Basildon Council to comment further on what future funding ideas came from the session. The UK’s taxi news source also asked whether taxi drivers will have access to a discretionary scheme designed to help businesses which have had to close, or been able to trade but have been severely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, regardless of whether they pay business rates.

On 31 October, the Government announced that Basildon Council would receive £3.7million for one-off payments to enable more broad support for businesses.

If cabbies are eligible for the discretionary fund, drivers might expect support worth up to £1,000 if their businesses fit the required criteria.

This article will be updated with Basildon Council’s response.

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