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Glasgow taxi retrofit help ‘most generous of its kind’ says Minister batting off trade concern

Image credit: Ross Campbell

The Glasgow taxi retrofitting grant has been touted as “the most generous offer of its kind” as Scottish Minister bats off ongoing concerns from the industry and parliament members.

Unite Union Glasgow Cab Section have long expressed worry that they could see around 1,000 iconic taxi vehicles removed from the streets for being non-compliant with new Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) rules coming in June 2023.

As of February 2022, of the 1,420 taxis licensed by Glasgow City Council, around 1,000 did not meet new emissions criteria set for June 2023.

Unite Union Glasgow Cab Section have called for councillors to make black cabs exempt from the scheme until 2027 to allow the sector to recover sufficiently from the coronavirus pandemic.

Labour’s MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy, raised a question during a debate on Glasgow economy business support at Scottish Parliament, saying: “One sector that has not been mentioned is Glasgow’s black cab sector.

“Black cab drivers in Glasgow have been given until June this year to meet low-emission zone targets. Most cannot afford £61,000 for a new car that would comply with the requirements, and, on Friday, the Energy Saving Trust said that there was no money left for grants to retrofit vehicles, and it stopped accepting applications as of yesterday.

“Given that the deadline to meet low-emission zone standards is June, how on earth are those drivers expected to meet the requirements? Will the Scottish Government commit to providing more financial support and grants in order to prevent major job losses in the black cab trade in Glasgow?”

Scottish National Party Minister (SNP) Minister, Ivan McKee, said: “Since 2019, the Scottish Government has made £7.2 million available to support LEZ funding for small businesses, including taxi operators, and households. There is support available for retrofit of existing vehicles, and the Scottish Government is offering grant funding of up to 80 per cent of the associated capital costs, which is the most generous offer of its kind in the United Kingdom. This year has seen record numbers of taxis being retrofitted as a consequence of that.

“Grant funding is available that provides more than £2,000 for any vehicle that is disposed of. That funding is available to microbusinesses, and taxi companies comprise the most applications for that in the past financial year.

“Further, Glasgow City Council has a discretionary mechanism for eligible taxi operators to receive a temporary exemption to the LEZ beyond the enforcement date of June this year, which will give taxi operators additional time to comply.

“I am happy to discuss any other points with the member and to raise those with Glasgow City Council.”


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