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Northern Ireland Finance Minister ‘happy to discuss’ any additional taxi driver funding required

Image credit: Karl Black

Northern Ireland’s finance Minister states that whilst COVID support funding for the taxi industry has been allocated, he would be ‘happy to discuss’ future urgent schemes if there are unused funds surrendered or more money made available.

At a finance related questions and answers session at Northern Ireland’s Stormont, one MLA probed whether there were future plans to further support the taxi industry.

Paula Bradley, a DUP MLA for Belfast North, asked Finance Minister Conor Murphy what discussions have been had, if any, with the Minister for Infrastructure about rolling support for the taxi, bus and coach industry to counteract the ongoing challenges that the sector is going through whilst public confidence is building.

Murphy responded saying: “The Member will know that there was some financial support offered up specifically for those sectors. There was quite a bit of wrangling between a couple of Departments as to who had responsibility for all of that.

“When Infrastructure eventually stepped up to take that responsibility, finance was made available. It was not all used, certainly not in relation to coaches. At the end of the financial year, we had additional COVID money and tried to get Departments to come back in for more money where it could be used. That was not the case for the Department for Infrastructure in relation to this.

“I am happy to discuss at any time the requirement for additional support. We have allocated most of the COVID money that we have available to us. We are not expecting any more to be made available, unlike last year when we received updated tranches over the year. If any of it is not used and is surrendered or if more is made available to us, I would be very happy to look at any urgent schemes for which a Minister might think it is important to tap into that.”

In February, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon opened a second financial support scheme worth an additional £1,500 for eligible taxi drivers in Northern Ireland.

The latest scheme covered a 12 month period from 22 March 2020 to 21 March 2021.


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