For many reasons 2019 was a horrible year for myself, I attended six funerals, one of which was my mother’s, so despite the impending shadow of Brexit looming, 2020 couldn’t get any worse could it?

How wrong was I. Going back on my Facebook timeline, on the 25th January 2020 I actually posted: “I may have the coronavirus ffs as if my week couldn’t get any worse”.

At the beginning of March business was actually decent, despite the horrific pictures coming out of Italy with ICUs being overwhelmed by the sick. The UK continued as normal, we allowed the gamblers to attend Cheltenham festival and travellers left the country for the annual pilgrimage to Benidorm. Liverpool even played Athletico Madrid, despite the virus being widespread in Spain.

There was an obvious sense something was coming, like the period of war being declared in September 1939 and the action actually beginning, a period known as ‘phoney war’. The major difference being the obvious ‘bog roll’ fiasco which saw shelves bereft of toilet paper because in the true blitz spirit nothing comes between the British and regular morning ablutions complete with three ply. On a side note, I find it fascinating that our country still fetishises a war that ended 75 years ago, when for a short period of time we stood alone (alongside Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a rather large empire) – yet when push comes to shove, we’ll willingly push someone’s granny under a bus for a pack of Andrex.

It was apparent when the Prime Minister announced the first lockdown in March 2020 that our trades would be directly affected, and affected we were, the day after the announce- ment non essential shops were closed, people stopped travelling and custom virtually ceased.

For many reasons our government hasn’t performed well (if at all) during the pandemic, the mixed messaging, being too slow to lockdown and too quick to reopen, exams being missed and over 100,000 dead all bear testament to that.

As I write this I’m looking at some figures. Per 100,000 men aged 20-64, 31 died in the population as a whole compared with 101 taxi drivers.

In terms of us, I suppose we have had the SEISS scheme for those lucky enough to qualify and of course the government loan scheme which is available through your bank, again, for those lucky enough to qualify.

To the credit (no pun intended) of many finance houses, they appreciated the position of those of us who had car repay- ments to make, giving a payment holiday or suchlike.

Are any of you old enough to remember the children’s TV show ‘Trumpton?’, no, it wasn’t based around the goings on


in the Whitehouse Washington DC, it was based on a seem- ingly understaffed town hall with a phone line direct to the seemingly overstaffed fire brigade.

Imagine for one moment that we gave Trumpton town council a few million quid, the overzealous Mayor of Trumpton consults with Mr Troop (the town clerk) and they agree that those b*stards from Camberwick Green have been seeking out links with the Cali cartel in Columbia, again. This time the Trumpton Mayor has millions in the bank and sets about with a new Drug Enforcement Agency (Trumpton division) sited alongside Trumpton’s famous fire brigade.

It sounds a bit farfetched (because it is), but it’s reasonably obvious when you think about it ‘Windy ‘Pablo’ Miller’ has gone from the illegal sale of Cider to international cocaine smuggling, therefore the Trumpton Mayor is justified.

Given the above, I think this is how local authorities generally work, give them the money and they will spend it.

On a local level some local authorities were, on the face of it, initially generous, allowing licensees to pay for licences over an extended period, some even reducing fees (which arguably was the correct thing to do, as many local authori- ties had staff working from home, thus the service to licensees was, and remains, virtually non-existent).

It is reasonably obvious during this time that local authorities should suspend things such as vehicle age policies and any- thing that will lead to licensee’s spending money unnecessarily for a business that quite simply isn’t there.

If you had a school contract, some local authorities paid retainers to companies who would after all be needed when the pandemic was over. Such generosity wasn’t extended by some operators, who basically refused to pass on this money to the drivers who carried out the work for them. I sincerely hope there is a day of reckoning when we get through this.

This day of reckoning should involve those train companies, who despite government subsidy and bailout, still insisted (and insist) that taxi drivers pay for permits for their taxis to stand at deserted railway stations. This is a scandal out of all proportion.

Whilst I’ll be the first to point to the many things the govern- ment has done badly, - I mean getting into an argument with Marcus Rashford over free kids’ school meals was a particularly silly thing to do - one thing they appear to have done, is to pro- vide money to local councils to support local businesses.

One of the pivotal policies of the NTA has been locals are best placed to decide, taxis in being a local business should have policies that reflect their locality. Therefore, as you would imagine, this government support to be distributed by


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