Updated: Sep 24
Taxi drivers ‘fear loss of income’ with new 20mph speed limits in Wales, says Welsh Member of the Senedd.
In a session at the Senedd on 20 September, Natasha Asghar, Conservative MS for South Wales East, raised concerns about the impact of the new blanket 20mph speed limits on taxi drivers and businesses across Wales.
Asghar expressed fears over the potential loss of income and the additional costs these speed limits would impose on businesses.
During her speech, Asghar highlighted that she had received feedback from various businesses, including taxi drivers who are concerned about the potential drop in the number of trips that drivers could make in a day.
Raising the issue with the Welsh Government, Asghar questioned whether a hardship fund could be created to compensate businesses for their loss of income and cover the additional expenses they would face. She criticised the policy as "disastrous" and accused Labour Ministers of forcing businesses into a situation they did not want or need.
Asghar said: “I've heard from many businesses over the last few weeks and days in the run-up to the scheme's introduction, including a parcel delivery firm. They've been looking into the extra costs that they face as a result of this Government's unwanted 20 mph speed limit project. Taking into account things like extra maintenance costs and the impact slower speeds will have, the total for this one company comes to £1.6 million. And this business is not alone; taxi drivers are extremely fearful for the loss of income, as they expect to see a drop in the number of trips that they can make in a day.
“If the Welsh Government continues to ignore residents' calls and refuses to reverse this disastrous policy, will you look at creating a hardship fund to compensate businesses for the loss of income and to cover their extra costs? It is incredibly unfair that hard-working businesses are being made to suffer as a result of this policy, which they did not want, do not want, and are being forced into by Labour Ministers here in Cardiff Bay.“
Vaughan Gething, Labour MS for Cardiff South and Penarth, responded: “As the Member knows, this is not a blanket ban. It's always unfortunate when people make knowingly untruthful statements. It is not a blanket ban."
Gething added: “I don't accept the veracity of the figures for a policy that has been implemented for just a handful of days now. I look forward to a longer term review and, of course, we are committed to reviewing the impact of the new proposals that have been introduced. Local authorities will review what's happened; I look forward to the input. And I can honestly say, as a parent, I'm much happier for my son to be out and about on his bike and moving around our roads with a change in speed limit.
“I think it'll make a big difference to how all of us see the future, and, actually, not just the health outcomes that we have been able to assess, but to think about what it means, if you listen to a range of our teachers, who have said, 'The children walking or cycling to school—they're more likely to be alert and active, ready to learn at the start of the day.'
“There are longer term health benefits, and, actually, those health benefits have a real impact on our economic future as well. I think we're doing the right thing, and I think, in a year or two's time, people will look back and wonder who on earth thought this was a bad idea.”