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WAYNE’S WORLD


You’d actually believe they were giving their own money away, a case of ‘you got that so you don’t get this’.


So what exactly are those local authorities that are giving their taxi and private hire drivers either nothing or paltry amounts saying about their licensees, are they saying that they don’t value them as much as other local authorities do? They’re worth less?


those that are directly responsible for licensing us should be a ‘mana from heaven’, shouldn’t it?


Fair enough, just because I barely trust them with emptying my bins doesn’t mean they’ll screw up on this does it? Local authorities being ‘on the ground’ and very local to us with a massive bag of cash they would surely consider the licensees they license wouldn’t they?


Before you start throwing the rotting fish from our ports at your licensing department (if you can find them), this isn’t something concerning our beloved licensing departments, it’s a different department.


The answer to the above lays on PHTM’s facebook page (they can thank me for the plug later). Let’s just say some local authorities are better than others, and some appear to be tighter than a duck’s backside.


Carlisle has a scheme (as do some others) called the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) to which taxi and private hire both qualify, payments have so far been made for November 2020 and January/February 2021.


The relatively simple question when applying for the grant in Carlisle was basically: “How has your business been affected by the pandemic”, the obvious answer being: “There’s a global pandemic, people have been told to stay indoors, they aren’t using taxis because you’ve closed the shops and pubs and told them to avoid travel”. Obvious really eh?


Other local authorities have been equally as considerate, if not a little slower in responding, setting up schemes where taxi and private hire both qualify.


Some have been truly awful; some have refused to consider grants to taxi drivers on the basis that they don’t qualify as they don’t pay business rates. Another has refused on the basis that taxi drivers have been able to claim on the SEISS. I even heard one justify a particularly low payment (the sum of £50) on the same basis; the SEISS scheme. It didn’t seem- ingly occur to this particular council that the SEISS scheme was for those essential things, like food.


FEBRUARY 2021


Wirral Council has a webpage dedicated to what they call a Covid-19 Local Restrictions Support Grant - when you log onto it you are asked the first yes or no question which goes thus: “Has your business been required to close due to national and/or local restrictions?”


The honest answer is “no”, at which point you are told: “Unfortunately your business doesn’t qualify for this scheme”.


In fact Wirral council hasn’t seemingly paid a single penny towards their licensed drivers, the few pounds for which drivers did qualify was granted via the Liverpool city region.


The BBC reported back in August: millions for small business “sitting in local authority bank accounts”, actually citing Wirral council as holding £14.7 million unspent at the end of July 2020, the taxi trade did not qualify for this money as it doesn’t pay business rates.


Don’t think I’m just picking on Wirral here, from what I’ve seen just about every local authority across Merseyside and indeed Greater Manchester has been exactly the same.


I refer back to the 101 deaths per 100,000 taxi drivers because of Covid; I refer to local authorities receiving government money and not considering taxi and private hire drivers worthy of grants (or granting a paltry amount). At the end of this pandemic it will be interesting to see the death statistics for licensed drivers across each local authority area; I’d wager those areas where cab drivers have been given little other option but to work have a higher pro rata death rate than those areas where drivers can work fewer hours.


It’s interesting to note that since PHTM began to compile a list of local authorities that previously considered taxi and private hire drivers ineligible for grants, a few seem to have changed their minds.


Until next month (if they’ll have me back), stay safe.


By Wayne Casey Admin Officer, NTA


The views expressed in this column may not be those of the NTA, NPHTA or PHTM


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