Taxi drivers across the south of Scotland are facing financial ruin after their business has been decimated by Covid-19 restrictions, warns local MSP Colin Smyth.
The South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson has also called on the First Minister to urgently consider specific support for ‘forgotten’ taxi drivers before many more lose their livelihoods.
Speaking during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, Colin Smyth said: “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.”
Speaking afterwards, he added: “This pandemic has hit a lot of sectors very hard and our hard-working taxi drivers are facing financial ruin unless something is done for them.
“My constituency is predominantly rural, and a lot of people rely on their local taxi service to get around, from going to the shops to attending vital medical appointments.
“However, as the Covid-19 pandemic drags on, many drivers are facing going out of business which would be a huge disaster, both for them and the people who rely on their services.
“I thought it was important that the First Minister was made aware of this problem and I will continue to urge the government to do what it can to help taxi drivers.”