Taxi drivers in Calderdale are set to receive further financial support to help them through the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Calderdale Council’s Taxi Support Scheme launches on Monday 19 April and will provide free licence renewals to local taxi firms for three years.
Taxi businesses and their employees have been severely affected by COVID-19 restrictions. To recognise this, a number of taxi firms in Calderdale have received 70% of their turnover from their 2019 accounts, through a West Yorkshire agreed COVID-19 grant scheme for self-employed people.
The Council has also been working with local taxi drivers throughout the pandemic to help protect them as much as possible from the virus. This includes providing access to COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, PPE and stickers for taxis advising passengers to wear a face covering. The Council also suspended the Compliance Test and is temporarily accepting a valid MOT certificate to renew licences.
The new Taxi Support Scheme means that every taxi driver who wants to renew their licence will be offered a free, three-year licence, plus the cost of their DBS check. The funding will be provided from the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant for businesses which are not eligible for the main COVID-19 grants.
Zohrah Zancudi, Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Services, said: “We are incredibly grateful to our local taxi drivers who, as key workers, have been on the frontline throughout the pandemic to keep Calderdale moving and help people to shop for essentials and get to appointments and COVID-19 vaccination centres.
“We understand how tough the pandemic has been, and continues to be, for many taxi firms. We are doing all we can to support them. Through our new Taxi Support Scheme we will be able to help nearly 1,500 licensees.”
Any taxi driver who has already applied and paid for their renewal between 5 November 2020 and 19 April 2021 will either be refunded for the amount they have paid, or they will be offered a licence extension.
If taxi firms wish to only have a 12-month licence, they can still apply and won’t have to pay for the 12 months or their DBS check.
To be eligible for the Taxi Support Scheme, licences must be renewed before 15 March 2022, before the Additional Restrictions Grant closing date of 31 March 2022.