Updated: Jul 29
An ongoing petition to grant taxi drivers access to small business support payments has now been signed by over 23,000 people.
The petition, which is hosted on the online petition website Organise, calls for taxi drivers, customers and members of the public to support the growing need for extra help to be given to the taxi industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aimed towards the Transport Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, the petition says: “Taxi drivers are in the highest risk category for catching COVID-19. Many taxi owners are self-employed and did not qualify for the small business grant of £10,000. A grant would ensure we can make our vehicles safer for both driver and passengers.”
It continues by detailing why the grant is important for the industry, stating: “Making a safer environment for one of the highest risk occupations in the UK. Our licenced public and private hire taxi services provide a vital support in connecting people with the majority of public hire vehicles supporting wheelchair users.
“Our customers deserve to travel in the safest of environments and this grant would ensure that owners could make the adjustments at a time where their earnings have been greatly reduced.”
The Government’s Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) offers to support small and rural businesses in England by helping them with their business costs during coronavirus.
Small businesses in England which pay little or no business rates are entitled to a one-off cash grant of £10,000 from their local council.
To be eligible small business must be:
based in England
Some taxi drivers have received support via the SEISS package which helps self-employed workers. However, the support package focuses on providing a percentage of the worker's profits, not taking into account the high fixed costs of vehicles and other expenditure still payable during the pandemic.
A spokesperson from Organise, the petition website host, said: “Taxi drivers in the Organise community are being left without support during Covid-19. A group of taxi drivers decided to use the Organise tools to bring drivers across the community together and demand access to the 10k small company grant being offered by the government.
“Now, less than a week later, more than 17,00 taxi drivers are standing together and being heard. This week, drivers are going to vote on the next steps they want to take in the campaign to get support.“