TAXI & PHV DRIVER GRANTS: 4. Requesting unnecessary documentation

Many councils as part of the grant application are asking for three to six months bank statements from the current year and the same period of trading last year as proof of a reduction in income due to Covid.

This is an unnecessary request since all members of our trade are licensed with their council. Futhermore it should be apparent that the service they offer cannot be done re- motely or online. We are currently in our third lockdown so it is obvious that their income has been affected, whilst the request for copies of tax returns is perceived as a further invasion of privacy.

5 Some local authorities have awarded hackney carriage owner drivers but NOT private hire owner drivers:

We fail to see any logic here at all. All licence holders pay their licence fees to the local authority; they are all licensed vehicles; they all pay high trade insurance premiums; they all transport the public from point A to point B; they are all regulated and have to pay fees for medical and DBS checks. They have all been equally impacted by a massive drop in demand for their services.

The only real distinction between the two licence types is the way in which they can receive bookings.

The only difference in reality we see here, is that there are far fewer hackney carriages than there are private hire vehicles, so the private hire sector is cast aside and ignored? Really?

6. Some councils have issued grants to vehicle owners but not drivers, whilst others have given grants to drivers and not vehicle owners:

Let us be blunt here: all licence holders have overheads; whilst vehicle owners have higher overheads that is not to say that drivers have none. And yet we see the reverse; for example where vehicle owners may not be drivers, so they have all the vehicle costs as overheads, but have been re- fused support!

Great - so the drivers get the support, but when this is all over, there are no vehicles available for them to drive due to council decisions and preferences!

7. Some councils have made it dependant on having a Covid screen installed, whilst others are still not even allowing screen installations:

We acknowledge and are grateful that some councils have 54

funded and provided screens, but in many cases, these are not fit for purpose. Furthermore, drivers should not be forced to install a screen in order to receive a grant.

On the contrary, we must mention that there are still councils across the country which do not allow screen installations or have made the conditions so prohibitive that they may as well have been honest and simply refused.

We remind these councils that the matter of protecting lives is an inherent lawful right: the “right to life” of all human beings.

8. Some local authorities have issued grants only for those residing in their areas and paying local council tax, whilst others paying anyone who has paid that authority for their licences:

Ok, now this one causes a massive clash. Whilst we see the thought process, this is the same as the SEISS issue, in so far as this is NOT about council tax and personal living costs, it is about business costs.

Why is this an issue?

Well, this creates a situation where a licence holder may pay his fees to one council, but be excluded from financial assistance since he does not live there. He may pay his council tax to a different council but be excluded from any payments since he is not a registered business there - which means that he gets nothing!

9.Worst of all - some councils have offered no help whatsoever:

We know that many licensing officers have tried to get our drivers included in the grant schemes but have come up against objections from their authority’s finance depart- ment. We thank you for trying and please ask that you con- tinue with your efforts.

However, we are aware that others have not even bothered to check whether drivers are eligibe for grants or even con- sidered fighting for our trade’s inclusion. Furthermore they are making no effort to communicate any information to their licence holders.

Well, you should simply hang your heads in shame!

We remind you that if our industry disappears in your area due to lack of financial support, then your job as a licensing officer or manager could also be affected since there will no licences to issue or enforce.


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