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Scottish MP Monica Lennon calls for more urgent financial support for the taxi industry

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland Region, Monica Lennon, has called for additional financial support for the taxi industry to be made available.

In a letter made public, Lennon wrote to Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes, highlighted that although the initial £1,500 grant made available to drivers was welcomed, drivers in Wales and Northern Ireland have been offered more significant support packages.

Following a successful campaign led by Unite the Union in Wales, Welsh cabbies have received three sums of £2,000. In Northern Ireland, taxi drivers have received two grants, totalling £3,000.

Lennon said: "People who work in Scotland's taxi industry have experienced significant financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. A dramatic fall in passenger numbers and revenue has been widely reported.

"I recently held discussions with representatives of Unite the Union Cab Branches who described how the past 12 months has impacted them.They told me that taxi operators across Scotland had been purchasing vehicles with a view to improving environment performance, yet many operators are struggling to make the required finance agreement payments for their vehicles and are facing the threat of repossession."

Lennon has called for Forbes to "urgently set out";

  • What specific financial support can be provided to taxi operatives such as the Strategic Business Framework fund that gives grants to businesses by delivering a £10,000 grant.

  • When will a second financial assistance scheme for drivers be announced.

Lennon went on to say she has listened to drivers describe mental health concerns and of drivers going to bed with their radio on to remain alert of any work, no matter what time of day.

She added: "I heard of many leaving the industry for good and some seeking alternative employment just to meet the payments on their vehicles.

"I listened to operators plea to be recognised as business owners, given parity with business grants and for the Government to distinguish between a taxi driver and a taxi operator."

Unite the Union Edinburgh Cab Branch thanked Lennon for her efforts, saying: "Thanks to Monica Lennon for writing to Kate Forbes on behalf of Unite the Union cab branches in Scotland.

"The fight continues to get the Scottish Taxi trade the financial support it desperately needs to keep operators from going to the wall."


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