The leader of Glasgow City Council says she is close to finding a solution that will allow her to distribute unclaimed funding to taxi drivers.
Councillor Susan Aitken has confirmed the taxi and private hire vehicle fund has seen 4660 drivers in the city receive almost £7m of grant support.
The local authority is now working with the Scottish Government to shape additional support for operators to ensure they receive a contribution to acknowledge the hardship of the pandemic.
During a full council meeting Labour councillor Jill Brown asked the the Leader of the Council what engagement she had had with representatives of the taxi trade in the last two months.
Aitken said: “The pre-election period has made this a very challenging issue but I, the city treasurer and officers have given a lot of time to in recent weeks.
“I do believe we are very close to finding a solution which will allow us to distribute additional support to taxi drivers in Glasgow.”
Councillor Brown asked the leader to join her in thanking taxi and private hire car drivers for providing a lifeline to many people during the pandemic by tirelessly transporting essential workers around the city day and night.
She also highlighted concerns from her constituents about a lack of communication regarding grant funding which had created additional uncertainty.
Brown continued: “Does the Leader agree with me that taxi driver and their families have been short-changed by the administration during this period, with payments that have been widely recognised as not enough while funding allocation has been underspent with a significant amount of taxi drivers not receiving a payment in that period due to lack of engagement?”
Councillor Aitken refuted this and said that the issue had taken up a considerable amount of time.
She went on: “We want to thank taxi drivers for the role they have played, and we do want to make sure the trade gets the support that it needs.
“The underspend that we have is because we did not receive as many applications as anticipated and that’s why the full amount was given to us.
“We have been trying to secure the permission and ability to distribute that underspend to drivers which has been very challenging.
“The clear guidance states that any underspend had to be returned to the Scottish Government and also because of the pre-election period of which there are strict rules.
“I believe we are close to a solution which would allow us to distribute the underspend and give taxi drivers additional payments.”
Story by local democracy reporter Catherine Hunter