North East Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles has called on the Scottish Government to provide an annual block grant to Local Licencing Authorities and remove the need for hefty annual licence fees for taxi and private hire drivers.
Taxi and private hire drivers across the North East are paying hundreds of pounds every year to keep their licence, despite a huge loss of trade and many taxi businesses struggling to make ends meet. Some local authorities have waived fees for a short period, but Local Licencing Authorities are required by law to meet their running costs by charging businesses for processing licence applications.
Mr Rumbles said: “I have been told that some drivers are running at a loss and many are making less than £20 per day. One way that the Scottish Government can help is to directly fund Local Licencing Authorities and remove the need for the annual licence fee.
“Supporting people’s livelihoods is the best way to stop families failing into poverty and it is the best way to ensure that local businesses are still there and able to recover after the Covid crisis.”
Notes for editors:
- The legal obligation on Licencing Authorities derives from Section 12 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982:
12. Fees for taxi and private hire car licences.
A licensing authority shall charge such fees in respect of taxi and private hire car licences and applications for such licences as may be resolved by them from time to time and shall seek to ensure that the total amount of such fees is sufficient to meet the expenses incurred by them in carrying out their functions under sections 10 to 23 (other than section 19) of this Act in relation to such licences.
Sections 10-23 outline the rules and law in respect of Taxi and Private Hire vehicles and drivers.
- Parliamentary Questions submitted by Mike Rumbles MSP on 19th November:
- To ask the Scottish Government what action has it taken to support taxi business through the Covid pandemic.
- To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the £14 million financial support scheme for taxi-drivers announced by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 13th November 2020, if it has considered providing an annual block grant for Local Licencing Authorities in order to remove the fee for processing licence applications for taxi operators.