The continued progress of the coronavirus vaccination programme ‘is a cause of optimism for the future of the taxi trade’ says Scottish Business Minister after a difficult 12 months for the nation’s taxi drivers.
Speaking exclusively to TaxiPoint, the Scottish Government’s Business Minister, Jamie Hepburn, was also quick to praise the service provided by cabbies throughout the pandemic.
Hepburn said: “We know how difficult this pandemic has been for taxi drivers and their families. They’ve truly gone the extra mile, continuing to provide a vital service for key workers and vulnerable individuals throughout the lockdown and beyond.
“Following the introduction of tighter regulations at Christmas we launched a £57 million support fund, enough to provide grants of £1,500 to all of Scotland’s 38,000 taxi and private hire drivers.
“The creation of the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Support Fund is in addition to support provided through our COVID-19 Public Transport Mitigation Fund and the UK Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
“In addition, provisions within the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, have amended licensing legislation to provide licensing authorities with additional flexibility and discretion to help minimise, as far as practicable, the possibility of taxi or private hire car drivers facing the prospect of losing their licence through no fault of their own because of the pandemic.
“Nobody wants the current restrictions to be in place any longer than absolutely necessary and the progress of the vaccination programme is a cause of optimism for the future of the taxi trade and the re- opening of the wider economy.”
Licensed taxi and private hire drivers experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus pandemic may be eligible to receive a one-off grant of £1,500.
This support grant is separate from and in addition to any other funding drivers may have received from the Scottish or UK Government, for example the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the COVID-19 Public Transport Mitigation Fund.
Drivers eligible for the grant will be contacted by their local authority starting from week commencing 18 January 2021.
Cabbies who have not had contact with their licensing authority, but believe they are eligible for the grant, should contact their local authority by 25 March 2021.