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What has the Department for Transport done to help financially struggling taxi drivers?

With the taxi trade being one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic, with national and local lockdowns and restrictions put in place, drivers and operators have been left wondering when their work levels are going to reach a steady sustainable level.

This hasn't gone unnoticed by some politicians who have brought up the topic during parliamentary discussions.

Conservative MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell, asked the Secretary of State for Transport what support is being put in place to help black taxi drivers during such tough periods of low work levels.

Rosindell said: "To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to support black cab drivers."

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of the Department for Transport, Trudy Harrison, responded: "The Government has provided support for the taxi and private hire vehicle sector throughout the pandemic.

"The majority of taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are self-employed and were therefore able to apply for grants through the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) before the scheme closed on 30 September 2021.

"Over the history of the SEISS, £28.1 billion has been paid in grants in total (up to 28 October 2021) and 2.9 million individuals have received a grant.

"The Additional Restrictions Grant provides local councils with grant funding to support businesses that are severely impacted by Coronavirus and the rise of the Omicron variant, which are not eligible for other grant funding.

"While the ARG scheme remains in place to enable local authorities to deliver discretionary business support, we are encouraging Local Authorities to support those businesses that have been severely impacted by the spread of the Omicron variant.

"There is no restriction on the number of grants a business may receive, subject to subsidy limits."

Although any SEISS payments have undoubtedly been much appreciated by many taxi drivers up and down the country, Boris Johnson's last call for people to work from home left a trade, which was in the process of rebuilding itself, slump back down to unsustainable work levels, but this time without any financial support.

With such high overheads in place to run a taxi, especially in London, even just a few weeks of unsustainable work levels can cause financial hardship, especially in the current climate and last 2 years of struggles the trade has had to endure.

Welsh Government recently announced that taxi and private hire drivers would be offered additional support to help them through this tough period.

Initially £500 was offered to each driver, but after pressure by drivers and trade representatives, who said the funds were not enough to help the industry survive the recent restrictions, the Welsh Government agreed to double the support grant to £1000 per driver.

You can find more details on the Welsh taxi and private hire support grant in our Welsh taxi driver support fund article.

The Scottish Government also set out funding for the taxi and private hire industry. Details can be found in our Scottish taxi driver support fund article.


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