The Unite Scotland union has accused Finance Secretary Kate Forbes of short-changing struggling taxi drivers. According to the union, the new packages fall too short to stabilize the trade.
Forbes has announced up to £12 million of funding for the taxi businesses in Level 2 areas- including the hospitality, weddings and soft play sectors. In addition, there will be £25m support for the culture sector through the second round of Performing Art Venue Relief Fund and the Culture Organisations. This fund is targeted towards those who previously received support from these funds and eligible but didn’t get support.
An estimated £37,000 taxis and private hire operators will be receiving an additional £62m. It amounts to £1000 if they operate single cabs or £3,000 for up to nine. Drivers who received £1500 will now receive an additional payment of £1500.
Eligible taxi operators will be connected by their local authorities and will receive grants of up to £10,000 depending on the vehicle license they are holding.
The unit has been calling on the Scottish Government to deliver £10,000 grants for every taxi operator, which is relatively equal to the amount given to small business owners.
This has drawn attention to the postcode lottery, which will affect the taxi trade support as local authorities offer different support using discretionary funding.
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 has 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.”