Unite the Union, working alongside MPs are urging the Chancellor to implement new support measures for taxi drivers during the Covid-19 crisis. The lockdown measures have severely impacted the livelihood of 82,000 taxi drivers across the UK at what should have been a busy holiday period for them. The reduction in work is so severe that income, in many instances, does not cover operating costs and lots of taxi drivers are already experiencing financial hardship.
With a total shut down at some airports and limited service at rail stations; drivers are reporting a 95% downturn. Many drivers are now worried that this could lead to the collapse of the trade as business funds must cover fuel, maintenance, insurance, licences, and essential cleaning materials during this time to keep them and passengers safe.
Unite the Union have stated: “Although we welcome the acknowledgement of the self-employed through the package set out by the Chancellor, our members simply cannot wait until June to receive financial relief, and many do not even qualify to claim Universal Credit. Plus, while suspension of tax payments on 31st July is welcomed, this will not pay the rent or feed families in the here and now.”
Jon Cruddas MP who has long been a supporter of the black cab and taxi trade said: “taxi drivers provide an important service, and during these uncertain times we must do more to support them. I will be writing to the Chancellor urging him to provide immediate wage support for drivers, along with a loan repayment holiday for private hire vehicles among other things. I will also encourage the government to consider subcontracting black cabs to transport key workers to and from work.”
Sign the petition demanding urgent wage support for taxi drivers: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/give-taxi-drivers-the-wage-support-they-need-now-not-in-june
It is important to know that Hackney cabs are fully licenced, and DBS checked, clean, safe and wheelchair accessible. They are also equipped with a glass partition separating driver from passenger. Due to this gold standard service and to protect the taxi trade, Unite the Union are urging the Government to sub-contract taxi drivers, as appropriate, to do the following:
- - Transport patients to and from non-emergency appointments.
- - Deliver shopping for the elderly or transport them to and from supermarkets
- - Transport NHS and other groups of key workers to work
- - Where appropriate delivering medical supplies.
Jon Cruddas MP is writing to the Chancellor requesting consideration of the following support measures:
- - Wage support straight away without having to wait until June
- - No means testing of Universal Credit or other benefits.
- - Suspending or reducing all taxi related running costs, including licence plate fees, monthly radio fees, rental fees and insurance payments for taxis not on the road. This would include lifting the age limit on vehicles for those that may need to be changed within this next three months, to be suspended until late December
- - Backing loan repayment holidays for private hire vehicles and moratoriums on marking down drivers’ credit files.
- - Emergency interim payments to keep the taxi on the road.
- - Reviewing the licensing regime and stop all payments for licences, with a three month temporary extension for those expected to renew in the next 12 months.