Private hire taxi drivers are among the category of self-employed workers who need a form of income guarantee from the government following the collapse of demand due to coronavirus, it's been claimed.
Trade union Unite said drivers here were facing poverty as they still had to pay depot rent and car-rent charges while also facing a sharp downturn in fares.
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday told the House of Commons that self-employed people will have to wait for the Government to come up with a "deliverable and fair" coronavirus support package. Unite's Albert Hewitt said any income guarantee should be extended to taxi drivers. "Those who work as private hire taxi drivers operate as self-employed contractors to the taxi companies.
"In many cases, drivers pay the operators charge depot-rents which can be as high as £140 a week and those who don't own their own vehicle also pay an additional vehicle rent of approximately £100 a week.
"After you deduct for fuel, insurance and these rental charges, many drivers are left making a pittance for turning out to work day after day and risking exposure to coronavirus."
Boris Johnson's Government has come under sustained pressure to provide financial help for self-employed workers, who face a dramatic loss of income if forced to take time off for sickness or quarantine. Mr Sunak told MPs it is "incredibly complicated" to design a system to support the self-employed but insisted that intensive work is going on in Whitehall. He said ministers are "in dialogue with all the key stakeholder groups".
"There are genuine practical and principled reasons why it is incredibly complicated to design an analogous scheme to the one that we have for employed workers, but ... rest assured that we absolutely understand the situation."