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Muir welcomes additional help to address taxi driver hardship

Alliance Infrastructure and Finance spokesperson has welcomed news the Infrastructure Minister will bring proposals for a second financial assistance scheme for taxi drivers to an Executive meeting tomorrow.

Mr Muir, along with other members of the Infrastructure Committee, had raised concerns with the Minister that the initial support scheme for taxi drivers excluded those who had temporarily paused their insurance payments while they were out of work during the pandemic.

The revised scheme, details of which were discussed at today’s Infrastructure Committee, will allow drivers to receive support for each month that they did have insurance, rather than requiring insurance to have been held throughout the pandemic as per the first scheme. Departmental officials will attempt to establish a dedicated phone line and an ability for drivers to track the status of their applications.

Mr Muir said “I welcome that the Minister is bringing forward a new scheme. Taxi drivers have seen much of their business disappear during this pandemic, and issues with the initial scheme meant that many drivers received no support to cover the costs of their overheads. Once the Executive has approved the details, this new scheme should be rolled out to drivers as soon as possible”.

“In addition to the support that has been provided to drivers, we still need to see further support for taxi operators. The Department for Infrastructure and the Department for the Economy should be working together urgently to assist operators, which have also had large overheads to pay throughout the pandemic. I urge the departments to continue to engage with taxi industry to ensure that all hardships are addressed.”