The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the six local authorities have agreed to increase the COVID-19 support for taxi drivers to £3.5m. Tony McDonough reports
Taxi drivers across the Liverpool city region are to get access to an extra £2m of COVID-19 support, taking the total package up to £3.5m.
Established in October last year, the first round of the fund offered £1.5m to licensed taxi drivers in Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton. This worked out at £100 towards the licence of every driver.
Now the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the six local authorities have agreed to increase the fund to £3.5m. It means drivers who have already received the £100 grant are eligible for an additional grant of £200. And a £200 grant will also be available to drivers who have not yet applied for support.
City region leaders are also continuing to push for the Government to increase the amount of specific financial support they are providing for taxi drivers and other self-employed people and freelancers impacted by the pandemic. Many of them are still not eligible for any of the national support schemes.
The funding will be allocated proportionately to each local authority, according to the number of licensed taxi drivers in their area. For details on how to access the funding, taxi drivers should consult their local licensing authority’s website.
It will enable all of the city region’s local authorities to top up schemes which benefit local taxi drivers in addition to what is available to them through national support schemes, such as SEISS. In the case of Liverpool City Council, funding will help contribute to their previously-announced scheme.
In a joint statement, the leaders and Acting Mayor of the six city region local authorities, and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, said: “We recognise the hardship experienced by our area’s taxi drivers, who have seen their trade seriously affected by the COVID-19 restrictions.
“We acknowledged when we launched this fund that it was a gesture of support. We know that this additional funding is still largely symbolic but have made it available in recognition of the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
“As the city region’s political leadership, we are continuing to press the Government for financial support packages that work for everyone whose livelihood has been affected by COVID-19 restrictions.”