Taxi Drivers (Coronavirus Support Fund)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 5th November 2020.

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Photo of Colin Smyth Colin Smyth Labour

Across Scotland, our taxi drivers are facing financial ruin with business decimated by Covid restrictions. For many, their cab is their office so they are not eligible for the coronavirus restrictions fund, which pays out only to businesses that are registered for non-domestic rates. However, they are viable businesses if they can get through the next few months. We have seen support for rail firms, ferry firms and bus companies, so may I ask the First Minister to urgently consider specific support for our forgotten taxi drivers before more of them are forced to join the ranks of Scotland’s rising unemployed? Our taxi drivers were there when we needed them at the height of lockdown; they need their Government to be there for them now.

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

We have sought to provide as much support to as many groups as possible. I recognise the point about non-domestic rates and the difficulties that that causes for some groups of workers and businesses. We will continue to look at what more we can do. I make the obvious point that our resources are finite and we cannot continue to stretch them. That is why our discussions with the United Kingdom Government are also a really important part of that. However, I recognise the difficulties that taxi drivers face and we will continue to look at what we can do to help them and other groups who are finding the situation so difficult.