TAXI drivers are to mount a protest at the Scottish Parliament to help assure the survival of an industry that dates back a century.

Concerns about the trade's future emerged as nearly one in three have been unable to get financial support from government support schemes.

A ‘mobile demonstration’ will take place at Holyrood after a union survey found that around 80% of taxi drivers have lost up to to three quarters of their usual incomes due to the Covid pandemic.

As self-employed workers, many cabbies have been entitled to benefit from the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), however the grant focuses heavily on the driver profits. The high operating costs involved in running a licensed taxi means many are still struggling to find enough work to tide them over until the pandemic passes.

Dozens are expected to converge round the Scottish Parliament at 11:30 to 12:00 to protest over the lack of Scottish Government support in contrast with other public transportation industries such as the bus and rail networks.

Unite Scotland is also demanding clarity and the urgent release of the £19 million promised by the Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes MSP, last week, and a commitment that continued support will be available until there is a return to normality.

Unite Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, said: “The mobile protest outside the Scottish Parliament is designed to raise awareness over the plight of taxi drivers across our nation.

"It’s estimated that there are around 36,000 tax drivers across Scotland with the majority of them having dramatic cuts in their income with around a third having had access to no government support at all. We need urgent clarification and the release of the promised support from last week and a commitment to continue to support the trade.”

Unite Scotland is proposing a series of measures to help support the trade and taxi drivers including establishing a dedicated scheme providing grant support to self-employed/full time taxi drivers.

It also wants the suspension of licensing fees that are payable to local councils for the next 12 months.

It also wants the Scottish Government to engage directly with finance companies to negotiate a reduction in increased debt due to payment holidays.