Nearly £200,000 set aside to help struggling taxi drivers in Stafford Borough

Nearly £200,000 has been set aside to help struggling taxi drivers through the pandemic in Stafford Borough.

Around 250 taxi, private hire drivers and vehicle licence holders will be able to claim the one-off coronavirus grants from the Borough Council as part of the local authority’s drive to help businesses who have missed out on other financial support.

Taxi drivers have not been made to stop trading during the pandemic - but their business has been significantly impacted by low passenger numbers due to wider COVID-19 restrictions.

The Council will make the discretionary payment of £750 to drivers who were licenced to operate in the borough on 5 November 2020.

The new taxi fund is the latest in discretionary financial support from the council – following hot on the heels of the launch last month of a scheme to provide thousands of pounds to ‘supply chain’ businesses who supply goods or services to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Councillor Frances Beatty, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The grants we have distributed already – especially to businesses that have been forced to shut - have been a lifeline for many in Stafford Borough.

“Although the taxi trade is still able to continue, it has suffered during the current COVID-19 restrictions – especially with the closure of the hospitality sector, and residents rightly being advised to stay at home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“We are keen to ensure we help as many businesses across our borough and I would encourage anyone to get in touch with us to see what support and advice is available.”

Councillor Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Our taxi drivers play an important role in the local economy and provide an invaluable service to the community.

“They have transported residents to medical appointments and for people to have their vaccine – and of course there is the risk of exposure to the virus every time they take a fare.

“They have also provided transport to workplaces for some of our key workers including nurses and care workers.”

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