UNITED KINGDOM / AGILITYPR.NEWS / April 07, 2021 / Unite Scotland has today (7 April) welcomed news of a ‘top-up’ grant for the taxi trade by Aberdeen City Council. As one of Scotland’s largest cities the financial support for taxi drivers through a discretionary top-up of £1000 is welcome news following the collapse of the taxi trade during the Covd-19 pandemic.
The support is in addition to a £1500 grant, which has already been paid out to eligible licence holders, and allocated from the Scottish Government’s Local Authorities Discretionary Fund which awarded £6m to the local authority.
The news follows Dundee City Council’s recent announcement to also open a £1,000 grant for taxi and private hire drivers. In Angus Council, taxi drivers will get an additional £2,500 financial support grant on top of the initial £1,500 grant made available.
Unite is demanding that all local authorities in Scotland suspend licensing fees to assist drivers at this time. Last week, it was reported that taxi and private hire car drivers will have their current single-year licences extended to cover two years at no additional cost in a budget move agreed by West Dunbartonshire Council.
Unite is also calling on the Scottish Government to deliver a £10,000 grant for each taxi operator, which is the equivalent support being given to other small business owners, and for an additional second cash grant to drivers from the £57 million Coronavirus (COVID-19): Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund. Unite has discovered that as of 26 February, £29,125,500 has been paid out of the fund to 19,417 drivers which accounts for only 58% of all the eligible drivers.
Marc Jackson, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite welcomes this increased financial support by Aberdeen City Council. The extra money is welcome relief for drivers who have struggled for over a year now to make ends meet alongside the well documented difficulties in accessing government support. It’s vital that all local authorities across Scotland now follow the lead being set by Aberdeen City Council and others including Dundee and Angus. Far more needs to be done to support the taxi trade including the suspension of license fees. We hope that other local authorities sit up and take notice of what has been done here in Aberdeen and follow suit immediately.”
In December 2020, an online survey of over 200 taxi drivers released by Unite Scotland highlighted that many drivers are regularly working 16-17-hour days with a shift being determined as having been ‘good’ if £50 is cleared. The survey also showed that 30% of drivers had at the time been unable to access any financial help from government support schemes. For those that had been able to access financial help from government the biggest group (37%) reported that it represented less than 25% of their average earnings.
Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.