A CABBIE has recorded a heartbreaking plea for help after making just £18 in a day due to the national lockdown.
Harry McKean was left close to tears after working eight-and-a-half hours – barely making £20 to show for it.
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Taxi driver Harry McKean has made a plea for cash support
The taxi driver, from Glasgow, fears he will not make it through the pandemic without cash aid – and can’t afford to take out another loan.
He has even considered giving up his cab and hunting for another job.
Speaking from his taxi in a two-minute clip, Harry said: “Nearly three hours now I’ve been out, not one hire.
“Yesterday I did an eight-and-a-half shift and recorded £18.60 earnings.
“I’m now going to go home and discuss with the wife what way we go forward. Do we hand the taxi back? Do I try and get another job, which would seem highly unlikely.
“We needed help last year and we still need it even more now.”
The minimum wage in Scotland is £8.72 per hour.
Hitting out at the lack of support for taxi drivers, he added: “This Scottish administration have not put their hand in their pocket once to help us out.
Like GB Taxis, pictured, Sherbet London taxis hired a car park to help store 400 unused cabsCredit: PA:Press Association
Taxis at Heathrow Airport waited an average of nine hours before picking up a passenger last monthCredit: PA:Press Association
“The only help we’ve received is from the Westminster Chancellor, Mr (Rishi) Sunak. Whilst it’s been a great help, it’s not been enough. We need more.
“I know there are other people out there people needing the same, but we’re not a fixed premise, we can’t apply for those grants.
“We still have fixed costs – I have fixed costs of about £1,000 a month, between taxi payments, insurance and running costs.
“Do I decide to give that up, go into another job or go into arrears with other payments? We don’t know how we’re going to go.
“So I’m asking, I’m now begging for somebody, somewhere within Holyrood, local council, anywhere, to start looking at this seriously and get us some kind of serious grant.
“Because we can’t afford any more loans, we don’t have the earning capacity to pay for them and even further down the line we’re just going to run up debt that we can’t afford or people just can’t afford to give us the credit these days.
“I’m begging you councillors, you MSPs out there, take a serious look at this industry and get some help out there because we have fixed costs, like business owners with fixed premises do as well.”
It comes after it was revealed that only 20 per cent of cabbies are still driving their vehicles, according to The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association.
Instead, hundreds of taxis are being kept in fields as taxi drivers give up their jobs to survive in the pandemic.
Steve McNamara, the General Secretary at Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said cabbies are earning “starvation wages” around a quarter of normal levels.
Drivers “are doing desperate things” such as selling their taxis for well below market value to “get through the next few months”, he added.
After sharing Harry’s video, Unite trade union told Glasgow Live they have demanded Glasgow City Council provide support by extending licences and suspending testing, both of which drivers ‘simply cannot afford’.
In response a Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “We have implemented a wide range of measures in support of the taxi trade at this extremely difficult time.
“But we are keeping this situation under regular review and will continue to look for further changes that can ease the pressure currently being felt by licence holders.
“As a regulatory authority, we must remain focused on public safety at all times.
“We have been communicating with the taxi trade about the various measures that have been brought in to support operators and drivers over the course of coronavirus emergency.”
And the Scottish Government says work is ongoing to provide a one-off payment for eligible taxi drivers later this month.
A spokesperson confirmed: “We understand how difficult this pandemic has been for taxi drivers and their families, which is why on 9 December the Finance Secretary announced a further financial package of £185 million to support businesses and the economy in the New Year, including £19 million to support taxi drivers.
“The Scottish Government is working closely with local authorities and representative organisations in developing these funds and further details will be announced shortly. We expect that eligible taxi drivers will be able to apply for this one-off payment later this month.”