Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has today opened up a £14million financial support scheme for taxi-drivers in Northern Ireland.
The bespoke scheme will provide a one-off payment of £1,500 to eligible taxi drivers, under the Taxi Driver (Coronavirus, Financial Assistance) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.
For cabbies to qualify for the grant the following eligibility criteria will apply:
Cabbies must have been working or available for work as a self-employed taxi driver between 22 March 2020 and 30 September 2020;
drivers must have directly incurred overhead costs and expenses, which may include personal protective equipment expenses;
had a valid taxi driver’s licence; and
had valid taxi insurance covering driving for hire and reward.
The Minister said: “I have acted as quickly as possible once the powers were transferred to me to put in place a bespoke financial support scheme for taxi-drivers who have suffered a loss of trade throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The scheme opens today for two weeks until Friday 27 November to those taxi-drivers who meet the eligibility criteria. The one-off payment of £1,500 is a contribution to their yearly overhead costs and additional costs for PPE, given the difficult trading circumstances of the pandemic. This is additional support to that which is available to self-employed drivers through the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, in recognition of the fact that they have not been able to earn as much income to cover the ongoing costs which they have still had to pay out.
“Applications to the scheme will be processed as quickly as possible with payments planned to be made before Christmas.
“I hope that this support along with the additional support of £1.2million which I put in place earlier in the year to waive vehicle licence fees, will enable taxi-drivers to continue working during these exceptionally difficult times.”