"We have a duty to help struggling taxi drivers" says Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard

Image credit: Ross Campbell

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has called for Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to step in and assist struggling taxi drivers.

Speaking to TaxiPoint, Mr Leonard said: “Hundreds of taxi drivers are in dire financial straits. The offer of financial support from the Scottish Government is welcome, but drivers need to know how to access the funds and when they can benefit from them.

“Our taxi drivers were there for us during the pandemic. We have a duty to help them.”

Mr Leonard has written directly to Nicola Sturgeon to set out how and when urgent financial aid promised to cabbies will be paid.

Leonard has been contacted by taxi drivers in “dire need” of this support and “seeking urgent advice” about when the cash will be available.

Cabbies who lost fares and bookings during the pandemic, are now facing a severe drop in their annual traditional Christmas trade due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

However, Leonard said that “many are facing very real hardship with continued outgoings” including vehicle running costs and insurance.

Nicola Sturgeon announced a £30 million 'discretionary fund' for councils to deliver extra support for businesses, including taxi drivers, after Leonard raised the plight of cabbies in a letter to the First Minister.

However, since the announcement, Leonard’s office has been inundated with queries from taxi drivers about how they can get the assistance.

In the letter sent to Nicola Sturgeon, Richard Leonard wrote: “Many are scouring the websites of their local authorities for further information, but this does not yet appear to be available.

“Can I therefore request that you provide information on when and how these funds will be or have been allocated and disbursed to local authorities and provide an indication as to when this group of workers may will be able to access these funds,” Leonard added.

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