Four in five self-employed taxi drivers short of funds before COVID-19 financial relief package due

Four in five self-employed taxi drivers do not have the funds to see them through to the government's financial relief package due in June.

In a poll conducted by the taxi industry’s leading news source, TaxiPoint, it finds only 20% of the 937 UK cabbies polled have enough funds to make it through to June, when the government is expected to pass on backdated grants to self-employed cabbies.

A large majority of the 5 million self-employed workers in the UK will receive direct cash grants though a government scheme to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.

Last month in the most recent step to protect individuals and businesses across the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans that will see the self-employed receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months.

However, Unite Wales have since urged the government to provide taxi drivers COVID-19 support payments now rather than in June, which they say would allow cabbies to stay on top of their finances and focus on supporting emergency services during the crisis.

Alan McCarthy, Regional Officer for Unite in Cardiff, said in a video statement: “Our self-employed taxi drivers have seen their earnings decimated by the COVID-19 crisis. Employees are receiving some relief through the job retention scheme, however, the self-employed are feeling forgotten and left behind.

“They’re being asked to wait until June to see and real financial support from Government and for the majority this is far too long to go without a liveable income.

“Taxi drivers are an at risk group, they want to support the national effort to combat COVID-19 by helping where they can, but they also need to feel comfortable and able to do the right thing at the right time, to self isolate when needed.

“When we say that we want to encourage everybody to do the right thing, what message do we send to them when we say that they must wait over nine weeks for financial relief."

Image credit: Needpix

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