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Questions raised as Northern Ireland taxi licence numbers halved and VAT changes loom over industry

The taxi industry in Northern Ireland is facing significant challenges, with a dramatic reduction in taxi licences over the past decade.

Deborah Erskine, DUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, has raised concerns about the industry's future. She highlighted that the number of taxi licences in operation has dropped from 16,000 in 2014 to just 7,500 at the start of this year.

Erskine expressed worries about the potential impact of VAT changes on the industry. She warned that these changes could lead to operators going out of business and deter new drivers from entering the market.

In response, Minister of Finance Caoimhe Archibald encouraged Erskine to submit her concerns in writing. Archibald assured that these concerns would be reviewed and included in the ongoing VAT consultation with Treasury officials.

The future of the taxi industry remains uncertain as it awaits clarity on upcoming tax policies and their implications.

Deborah Erskine, DUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said: “I have a particular concern about the taxi industry. In 2014, there were 16,000 taxi licences in operation, but that number was down to 7,500 at the beginning of this year.

“The taxi industry is worried about VAT changes and what those will mean for the industry, because they could result in operators going out of business or drivers not entering the industry.

“Will the Minister commit to listening to the industry and having input into the Treasury's VAT consultation on that issue?”

Caoimhe Archibald, Minister of Finance, replied: “I encourage the Member to write to me on that issue. I will then share that with officials so that we can take a look at it and include it in the ongoing consultation that they have with their counterparts.”


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