South east London MP urges Transport Minister to help ’distressed’ taxi drivers as work ’dries up’

A London MP has urged the Minister for Transport to assist in helping ’distressed’ taxi drivers as work ’dries up’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clive Efford MP and Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey have both written to transport secretary Grant Shapps asking for urgent action, as taxi drivers report a slump in income of 95 per cent and some making just £10 after seven hours working in London.

The letter sent by Efford MP heavily supports Unite’s decision to put forward a six-point plan to government earlier this week to save the UK’s 82,000 taxi drivers from financial ruin because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Clive Efford, Labour MP for Eltham constituency in south east London, yesterday said via social media: “I've written to the Minister for Transport regarding the impact COVID-19 is having on the taxi industry.

“I've been approached by drivers in my constituency who in distress as their business has dried up during this crisis.

“I've asked the government to support the industry but also to think creatively about black cabs in London and how they could help the NHS in the fight against this deadly virus.”

Both Clive Efford and Unite have put forward the following recommendations to government to support the taxi industry:

  • Wage support straight away with no delay until June.

  • No means testing of universal credit or other benefits.

  • Suspending or reducing all taxi related running costs, including licence plate fees, monthly radio fees, rental fees and insurance payments for taxis not on the road. This would include lifting the age limit on vehicles for those that may need to be changed within this next three months, to be suspended until late December.

  • Backing loan repayment holidays for private hire vehicles and moratoriums on marking down drivers’ credit files.

  • Emergency interim payments to keep the taxi on the road.

  • Reviewing the licensing regime and stop all payments for licences, with a three month temporary extension for those expected to renew in the next 12 months.

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