I understand that in Liverpool taxi drivers have been given a grant by Liverpool City Council, which is effectively a refund of their licence fee. In other areas one off grants have been provided such as in Sheffield. I further understand that the devolved administrations in both Northern Ireland and Scotland have announced funds to help struggling taxi drivers. Please set out what steps you have taken or intend to take to supporting taxi drivers operating in London. Please also set out whether you have taken any steps to lobby the Government to offer any assistance to taxi drivers, many of whom are part of the 3 million excluded from Government pandemic support.
I am aware of the significant effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on taxi and private hire drivers.
I have recently written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to draw his attention to the plight of taxi and private hire drivers in London. I have highlighted the vital roles of the taxi and private hire trades in London and asked the Chancellor to consider how to allow for more flexibility in the way that the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants are calculated, to ensure that self-employed and gig economy workers are able to accurately reflect the work that they have done and receive the support they need. I have also urged consideration of how to exempt zero-emissions capable (ZEC) taxi purchases from capital allowances so that drivers claiming income support due to COVID are able to access adequate support for their work from the past three years.
Transport for London (TfL) has provided a range of measures to support taxi and private hire drivers during the pandemic. The most recent support initiative saw the distribution of stickers to be displayed in vehicles reassuring passengers that their driver is ‘coronavirus prepared’ as well as providing face masks and hand sanitisers to drivers, in advance of the festive period when some people were increasing their journeys. TfL has also met regularly with trade representatives to understand their concerns and has published numerous regulatory notices containing advice and guidance on the safe operation of services and where to access financial support and health and wellbeing services.