Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has today opened a £14million financial support scheme for taxi-drivers.
The bespoke scheme will provide a one-off payment of £1,500 to eligible taxi drivers, under the Taxi Driver (Coronavirus, Financial Assistance) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 through the powers conferred by sections 1 and 3 of The Financial Assistance Act (Northern Ireland) 2009.
The following eligibility criteria will apply:
- were working or available for work as a self-employed taxi driver between 22 March 2020 and 30 September 2020;
- directly incurred overhead costs and expenses, which may include personal protective equipment expenses;
- had a valid taxi driver’s licence; and
- had valid taxi insurance covering driving for hire and reward.
The Minister said: “I have 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. 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.
“Applications to the scheme 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 £1.2million 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.”