Taxi drivers ‘short-changed’ in latest support deal
Taxi drivers hopes for £10,000 each
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has been accused of short-changing struggling taxi and private hire drivers.
A new package “falls way short” of what is needed to stabilise the trade, says the Unite Scotland union.
Ms Forbes today announced up to £12 million of funding for businesses in Level 2 areas – including those in the hospitality, events, weddings and soft play sectors.
A further £25m will support the culture sector through the second round of the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund and the Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund. This will be targeted at those who previously received support from these funds and those who were eligible but did not get support.
An estimated 37,000 taxi and private hire operators will receive up to an additional £62m. It amounts to either £1,000 if they operate single cabs, or £3,000 for up to nine. Drivers who previously received £1,500 will receive an additional payment of £1,500.
Taxi operators will be contacted by their local authorities this month and will also receive grants of up to £10,000 depending on the number of vehicle licences they hold. A small number of the very largest operators will now be paid up to £15,000.
But Unite has repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to deliver a £10,000 grant for each taxi operator irrespective of size, which is the equivalent support being given to all other small business owners.
It has also drawn attention to the ‘postcode lottery’ affecting support for the taxi trade as local authorities have offered different support through discretionary funding. Glasgow has offered no ‘top-up’ discretionary support.
Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish Secretary, said: “Support is desperately needed and welcome but this is a sector that has been failed once again. We have regularly brought this to the attention of Ministers and indeed the First Minister regarding the lack of support. The pleas of many within the trade have been ignored.”
“This announcement falls way short for the vast majority of operators who manage less than ten cabs, and who continue to face high fixed costs at a time when the trade remains in crisis.
“The Scottish Government have rowed back on their manifesto commitments and Unite will continue to fight for a substantial and long-term financial solution to the crisis our members face in the taxi trade.”