Northern Ireland news

Criteria for £14m taxi driver support scheme unveiled

The criteria for a new £14 million taxi driver financial support scheme was unveiled yesterday
Marie Louise McConville

DETAILS of a new Covid support scheme for taxi drivers have been published.

The £14m fund, which officially opened yesterday, will provide a one-off payment of £1,500 to eligible drivers.

Those applying must have been working or available as a self-employed taxi driver between March 22 and September 30 this year.

They must have directly incurred overhead costs and expenses, which may include personal protective equipment.

They must also have a valid taxi driver’s licence and insurance covering driving for hire and reward.

Wedding car drivers who meet the eligibility criteria may also be able to apply.

Infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon said she had "acted as quickly as possible once the powers were transferred to me to put in place a bespoke financial support scheme for taxi-drivers who have suffered a loss of trade throughout the Covid-19 pandemic".

"The scheme opens today for two weeks until Friday 27 November to those taxi drivers who meet the eligibility criteria," she said.

"The one-off payment of £1,500 is a contribution to their yearly overhead costs and additional costs for PPE, given the difficult trading circumstances of the pandemic.

"This is additional support to that which is available to self- employed drivers through the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, in recognition of the fact that they have not been able to earn as much income to cover the ongoing costs which they have still had to pay out."

The SDLP minister said applications "will be processed as quickly as possible with payments planned to be made before Christmas".

"I hope that this support along with the additional support of £1.2m which I put in place earlier in the year to waive vehicle licence fees will enable taxi-drivers to continue working during these exceptionally difficult times," she said.

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