Taxi drivers are backing a politician’s campaign to get the Scottish Government to help them through the Covid crisis.
The Daily Record reports that Dumfries-based MSP Colin Smyth is urging Holyrood to give cash payments to drivers and firms who have suffered a savage drop in takings since March.
Driver, Brian Patterson, of BP Taxis in Kirkcudbright, said: “I have two cars but one is off the road right now because there is just not the amount of business to keep it going.
“I am lucky here and have a couple of school runs during the week which is good and I just try to look after my regulars and locals.
“I have no work at the weekend and finish early on Friday and Saturdays now when in the past it was the busy time.”
“I fully support the campaign (by Mr Smyth) to back the taxis.”
Mr Smyth, who is also Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman, has called for financial support for drivers and insisted: “Across Scotland, our taxi drivers are facing financial ruin with business decimated by Covid restrictions.
“For many, their cab is their office, so they are not eligible for the coronavirus restrictions fund which pays out only to businesses that are registered for non-domestic rates.
“However, they are viable businesses if they can get through the next few months. We have seen support for rail firms, ferry firms and bus companies, so may I ask the First Minister to urgently consider specific support for our forgotten taxi drivers before more of them are forced to join the ranks of Scotland’s unemployed?
“Our taxi drivers were there when we needed them at the height of lockdown; they need their Government to be there for them now.”
He added: “This pandemic has hit a lot of sectors very hard and our hard-working taxi drivers are facing financial ruin unless something is done for them.
“My constituency is predominantly rural and a lot of people rely on their local taxi service to get around, from going to the shops to attending vital medical appointments.
“However, as the Covid-19 pandemic drags on, many drivers are facing going out of business which would be a huge disaster, both for them and the people who rely on their services.