Updated: Oct 29
The Government today announced their latest measures to improve the winter support schemes available to taxi drivers and other self-employed workers in a bid to help support them during what are expected to be difficult times over the coming months.
In recognition of the challenging times, the Chancellor said he would be increasing support through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes, and expanding business grants to support companies in high-alert level areas.
This builds on agreements reached with Local Authorities moving to Alert Level very high, with extra support for businesses, jobs and the economic recovery.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “I’ve always said that we must be ready to adapt our financial support as the situation evolves, and that is what we are doing today. These changes mean that our support will reach many more people and protect many more jobs.
“I know that the introduction of further restrictions has left many people worried for themselves, their families and communities. I hope the government’s stepped-up support can be part of the country pulling together in the coming months.”
For cabbies and other self-employed workers, today’s announcement increases the amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming self-employed grants from 20 per cent to 40 per cent, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.
This is a potential further £3.1billion of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April.
As a result the Government will provide two taxable SEISS grants to support those experiencing reduced demand due to COVID-19 but are continuing to trade, or temporarily cannot trade.
It will be available to anyone who was previously eligible for the SEISS grant one and grant two, and meets the eligibility criteria.
Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering 3 months. The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November 2020 until the end of January 2021. The Government will pay a taxable grant which is calculated based on 40% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £3,750.
The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April 2021. The Government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.
The increase is seen as a starting point in helping cabbies who have faced a severe downturn in work levels. Taxi representatives are however also urging financial firms and the Government to re-introduce payment holidays on taxi finance payments to assist cabbies through the period.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), told members: “We have been calling for an increase in the level of support for weeks and are happy to see that they are finally listening. “We know this won't solve all the challenges members are facing, but hope it's a start. Over the next few weeks, we will be keeping the pressure up to help get you the extra support you need, whether that's further help from finance companies or more financial support as new Tier-2 restrictions continue to limit trade.”