Leeds taxi and private hire drivers to receive huge multi-million pound boost from Council
Leeds Council has announced the details of a multi-million pound package of measures to support taxi and private hire drivers and operators across the city.
The Council is making £2.5million available to fund free three-year taxi and private hire license renewals for drivers after the trade has been particularly badly affected by the pandemic.
Taxi and private hire drivers and operators with a Leeds business address will also be able to apply for £500 grants following the reopening later this month of a coronavirus support scheme for businesses with low fixed property costs.
Across the board, schemes being put in place by the council mean more than £7.5million worth of support is on offer to taxi and private hire drivers and operators.
In a normal year, it is estimated that more than 30 million journeys are made by taxis or private hire vehicles in Leeds but since the start of the pandemic, the number of journeys being undertaken has significantly reduced, leading to a drop-off in the earnings of drivers.
Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The pandemic has had a major impact on people working in many different sectors across Leeds, with taxi and private hire drivers among those most seriously affected.
“These drivers are part of the lifeblood of our city and we are determined to do as much as we can to help protect their livelihoods.
“In addition, many people – especially those with mobility needs or a disability – rely on taxis and private hire vehicles to get around. Supporting drivers means we are supporting those people as well.”
The free three-year license renewals will be worth £450 to most taxi and private hire drivers and applicants should be due to renew their Leeds license between March 1 this year and March 31 next year.
They must also meet the council’s current licensing standards.
For further information about these free renewals, click here.
Grants are also on offer to taxi and private hire vehicle owners who have switched to low emission vehicles - and owners who bought an eligible vehicle on or after February 28 2020 can apply for a transitional grant worth £2,100.
The £1.9million funding for the transitional grants has been retained by the council after originally being secured as part of Leeds’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) scheme.
The Council announced in October last year that improvements in air quality and a rise in the number of cleaner, greener vehicles on the city’s roads meant the CAZ scheme did not need to go ahead.
Taxi and private hire vehicle owners who switched to low emission vehicles on or before February 28 last year will also be offered free three-year license renewals.
For more details on low emission vehicle grants, click here.