Forbes urged to help ‘overlooked’ taxi drivers as Hogmanay business dries up
TAXI drivers must receive financial support to deal with the pandemic, the former prime minister urged.
Alex Salmond, who now heads the Alba party, called on Scotland’s finance secretary to provide assistance to couriers and drivers who he says have been “overlooked” during the health crisis.
Mr Salmond said many drivers preparing for a busy Hogmanay will now face the prospect of very low incomes over the holiday season, and urged Kate Forbes to step in.
He said: “The Scottish government that I was proud to lead would not have turned its back on private and taxi drivers like this government has.
“But the mistakes of the past should not be repeated. Time is running out. They need support in the days to come, not in the weeks or in the months.”
The Alba chief said taxi drivers were “essential workers just as much as bus drivers and railway staff”. adding: “However, unlike other small businesses, they received very little compensation for loss of earnings and the support they received from counseling was uneven and in some cases paltry, many taxi drivers and rental companies having completely ceased their activities. ”
“It is now imperative that the Scottish Government steps in to support these essential workers. Kate Forbes is to meet with their representatives such as the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) Scotland early on and set up a financial support program.”
The Scottish Government said: “We are all too aware of the impact COVID-19 has had – and continues to have – on businesses and the Scottish economy. The emergence of the new Omicron variant and the speed to which it spreads brings even more economic uncertainty.
‘This is why the measures we have taken so far, including the latest £ 375million package of financial support recently announced by the Prime Minister, are firmly focused on supporting business, protecting jobs and mitigating the continued impact of Covid on our economy at large.
‘The Scottish Government is keenly aware of the financial implications for many businesses and we are working with business sectors and industry to develop targeted financial support for businesses that will be affected by the restrictions, including those that must close.