Taxi industry representatives have contacted the Chancellor to seek “answers and reassurance” in regards to what financial support will come next.
Like lots of other trades, cabbies have faced financial difficulties since the COVID-19 outbreak pushed the UK into lockdown.
Whilst there are signs of a slow recovery, work levels remain critically low and are not expected to recover fully until a full commuting, tourism, and leisure economy resumes.
As a result, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) has contacted RIshi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to highlight the ongoing need for support beyond October. The taxi reps also repeated calls to look again at those working in the trade that missed out on the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) payments.
Many taxi drivers, like other self-employed workers, were eligible to claim SEISS funding which arrived in two payments. The first taxable grant was worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
The second payment saw individuals able to claim a second taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, wrote in the latest edition of TAXI: “I wrote to the Chancellor again last week to make sure he understands the need for ongoing support for the taxi trade beyond October, with trade likely to be slow to pick up.
“I also repeated calls for him to look again at the self-employment furlough scheme and ensure that people who have been unable to claim can access much needed financial support.
“I will be following up with officials in the Treasury, who we worked with previously, to try and get some answers and reassurance on what comes next.”
This call from the taxi industry comes after IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has stated its concerns over the Government raising Corporation Tax and National Insurance Contributions to pay for partial support during coronavirus.
An IPSE spokesperson said any Autumn Budget rises effecting self-employed workers would be “unjust, uneconomical – and unbelievable”.
IPSE argued that making the 1.5 million forgotten self-employed pay for support they did not get would be unfair. The workers' association also said that given the slump in the number of self-employed – just when they would usually be expected to be driving economic recovery – it would also be uneconomical to squeeze the sector further.
Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE, said: “The last few months have financially hammered the self-employed, with over two-thirds seeing a drop in demand for their work. Government support was some help – to a proportion of the self-employed. More noticeable, though, was the 1.5 million who fell through the gaps, leaving many financially devastated.
“The idea that this 1.5 million should now suffer a drastic tax hike to pay for support they never got is unjust, uneconomical – and unbelievable. If the government is really considering this, it must stop now.
“Normally, the self-employed would be expected to play a major part in recovery during an economic crisis. This quarter, however, we have seen the biggest drop in self-employed numbers on record. If the government wants to avoid the country slumping further into recession, it must not squeeze this struggling and vital sector with unjust tax hikes.”