Taxi driver owners are hoping for a new payment holiday boost on their vehicles in the next government Budget according to taxi driver representatives.
Since 2018 taxi drivers in London have invested over £200million in nearly 4,000 Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) black cabs. Monthly payments for the ZEC taxi and insurance can cost cabbies around £1,200 each month, at a time when work levels are at a record low due to COVID restrictions.
In March last year black cab drivers were handed the opportunity to take a three-month finance payment holiday, which was designed to ease the burden. As the pandemic progressed this offer was eventually extended by another three-months.
Despite the six-month payment holiday, taxi drivers have continued to struggle financially.
Steve McNamara, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) General Secretary, said via Taxi Newspaper: “We have been trying to find a solution to help drivers struggling with finance payments and at risk of losing their vehicles. This is particularly important now, as the Financial Conduct Authority’s ban on repossessions came to an end on 31st January and many drivers face the devastating prospect of losing their cab or being forced to voluntarily surrender it.
“It continues to be an uphill battle to find a solution and the Government has so far been unwilling to help. However, the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA), which represents the finance companies, came back to us in January after realising the third lockdown meant that drivers situations were unlikely to improve any time soon.
“They also see that it is in no one’s interest the finance companies or drivers to start repossessing taxis to sell at auction, at a time when there is no market and residual values have plummeted. The FLA have made an offer to the Treasury proposing a solution that would allow them to offer taxi drivers in these difficult circumstances further payment holidays or at least partial payment deferrals until at least July, and potentially until the end of 2021.
“This proposal is now with Treasury officials for consideration ahead of the upcoming Budget.”