Taxi and private hire drivers across Edinburgh are to receive more funding as top-up payments of £1,000 each will be distributed by the City of Edinburgh Council.
From today (15 April 2021), this will be paid out to those who received the initial grants of £1,500 through the ‘Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund’ and will be done using the same details used for the first grant without any need for further application.
This additional funding for taxi and private hire drivers will be provided from the ‘Edinburgh Discretionary Business Support Fund’, amounting to just under £4.4million for the sector in Edinburgh.
The Council was awarded just over £12.8million in total by the Scottish Government to create the ‘Edinburgh Discretionary Business Support Fund’ which has been distributing grant money to eligible businesses since 3 February 2021 in two tranches – initially £2.8million, and then an additional £10million was added to the pot.
The ‘Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund’ was open between 25 January and 25 March 2021 and paid out just over £6.5million to 4,391 taxi and private hire drivers.
Councillor Kate Campbell, Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Convener, said: “It’s been a really difficult time for so many businesses and self-employed people. We know that taxi and private hire drivers have been severely impacted so we’re using the discretionary grant fund to top up the Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund.
“Taxis and private hire drivers are a crucial part of our city’s transport infrastructure, making our city accessible to many and supporting our economy.
“We’ve taken the decision to ring-fence this money to make sure that drivers, 90% of whom are self-employed, have a bit of extra support to help them get through this period until we start to see the easing of more restrictions from 26th April.
“This year has been incredibly difficult for all businesses in our city, and we know how hard people have had to work to keep going. We want to do everything we can help.”
Councillor Mandy Watt, Vice Convener, said: “The taxi trade is a vital part of our public transport network, supporting many vulnerable people and those with accessibility needs. I therefore feel very passionately that this sector – the majority renting their vehicles – gets the support it needs to continue this essential service.
“Our whole economy has been affected and it will take time to build it back up again. That’s why, despite there being a date to work towards, we’ll continue to look at our business support landscape and monitor where the holes have been so we can plug them with funding support.
“Applications will be open until the fund is nearing its full allocation. At this point the fund will be closed and applications will be processed in the order they are received.”
The announcement was welcomed by Unite the Union Edinburgh Cab Branch, who said: “Just announced by Edinburgh City Council. Additional £1k to all drivers who received the original £1.5k.
”Our fight for proper funding from Scottish Government continues, but this additional sum will be welcomed by most. Now it’s over to you Glasgow City Council.”