Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has said that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, needs to show support to certain people and sectors that are currently missing out on support during the pandemic.
Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, pointed out that people who have been self-employed for less than two years, directors of very small limited companies (such as taxi drivers), and people who have been on maternity leave, have suffered from the lack of support.
Speaking during a parliamentary discussion on 6 January, Farron said: "They have been excluded from support. It is an outrage that those people have been left to get into deeper and deeper debt because the Government have yet to devise a mechanism for supporting them.
"They must do so now. We need those people to build our economy back once we are out of this situation. To let them flounder in poverty now is outrageous and unacceptable."
Although taxi drivers who have been self-employed for more than two years have been entitled to apply for the Self Employed Income support Scheme (SEISS), there has been very limited dedicated financial support for the trade.
There have been some cases of local councils issuing grants to taxi and private hire drivers licensed by their authority, but the funds and resources have been minimal.
Taxi drivers who have been self-employed for less than two years have arguably been hit hardest, as they have not been eligible for any of the SEISS grants since they were introduced by the Chancellor.
The latest SEISS grant made available covers a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. The UK Government is currently offering a taxable grant which is based on 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500.
The SEISS Grant Extension will last for six months in total, from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021. A further grant will cover February to April, as grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period. The government will set out further details, including the level of that grant, in due course.