Taxi drivers and private hire drivers who received the state benefit in UK from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) during the pandemic are now eligible to receive £1500 business support grant, only if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said that the change would come into effect immediately to ensure that every driver having a low income is eligible for the support.
However, he also warned the UK Government Universal Credit rules mean that drivers may end up losing overall if the grant is considered income by DWP. However, this change will help in making decision based on the circumstances.
The minister also a wrote to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, requesting for the guarantee that every taxi driver eligible for the benefit shouldn’t be penalized for grant.
In coming weeks, council members will connect with eligible drivers to brief them about the grant and request them to support the information and provide complete bank account details.
Mr. Hepburn said, “This week local authorities will directly approach an estimated 38,000 private hire and taxi drivers inviting them to claim this grant, which is intended to assist with fixed costs and expenses.
“We have responded to the concerns of drivers and we have removed grant conditions relating to state benefits. However, we remain justifiably concerned that any payment would simply be deducted from an applicant’s benefits. That is why I am urging the Secretary of State to do the right thing by drivers on the lowest incomes.
“Without a change by the UK Government, making these payments would benefit the Department for Work and Pensions budget, not the drivers, and risk using Scottish Government resources in a way that fails to provide additional support to many taxi drivers struggling to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Eligibility for the grant
The common eligibility criteria for the funding is the driver must be licensed for October 9, 2020 to at least January 31, 2021. Moreover, the driver should not have breach COVID-19 lockdown rules and declare complete details about last support from the UK or local government.