Thousands of taxi and private hire drivers affected by the coronavirus pandemic are being offered a new grant to help with their fixed costs.

Local authorities across Scotland will directly approach around 38,000 drivers and will invite them to claim the £1,500 funding.

Drivers must be licensed for the period October 9 2020 to at least January 31 this year to be eligible.

The cash comes in addition to support from other funding for loss of income available from the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Public Transport Mitigation Fund and the UK Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

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Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “We know how difficult this pandemic has been for taxi drivers and their families.

HeraldScotland: Finance Secretary Kate Forbes during Topical Questions at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 3, 2020. See PA story SCOTLAND Coronavirus. Photo credit

“They’ve truly gone the extra mile, continuing to provide a vital service for key workers and vulnerable individuals throughout the lockdown and beyond.

“Following the introduction of tighter regulations at Christmas, I have trebled the budget originally announced for this fund to £57 million, enough to provide grants of £1,500 to all of Scotland’s 38,000 taxi and private hire drivers.

“It will help to support the taxi trade by augmenting existing support and assisting drivers in meeting fixed costs including licence plate fees, rental fees and insurance payments for taxis not on the road.”