Struggling taxi driver impacted by pandemic says he has been let down by district council - The Leamington Observer

Struggling taxi driver impacted by pandemic says he has been let down by district council

A STRUGGLING taxi driver whose business has been hit by the pandemic says he has been failed by Warwick District Council.

Tajinder Thandi lives in Coventry, but works in Leamington. Despite being licensed to do so by the council, Mr Thandi was turned down for an ‘Additional Restrictions Grant’ (ARG) because his business is registered under his home address in Coventry.

The driver, who has worked in Leamington for seven years, says he and other drivers who do not live in the district had been failed by the council.

He told the Observer: “Sadly, I do not qualify because I don’t live in the district. Myself and many drivers who do not live here have been rejected for the grant. I want to highlight the greed of the council and their failure to support their own drivers during a time which has forced many off the road.

“The council gave us no relief on licensing fees during the pandemic. Myself and many other drivers who solely operate in the Warwick District Council area have been kicked to the side because of where we live. The council has failed us and I want the public to know that.

“We haven’t received any funding. Some have offered support with protection equipment and reduced or no license fees.”

Like many self-employed workers, the dad-of-one’s business has suffered financial losses over the last year.

He added: “Covid-19 forced us off the roads for a few months, there was relief when the pubs opened but, because of time restrictions, there was one busy hour out of the whole shift in the evening.

“Many drivers have been forced of the roads after facing financial difficulties. Many drivers – myself included – have been forced into other driving jobs like couriering or food delivery. We are not seeking sympathy for hardship, we just want the council to be made aware we shouldn’t be treated different to those who are Warwickshire residents.”

A district council spokeswoman said its policy for the ARG scheme has always stipulated a business must trade in the local authority area – an approach, she says, adopted by any district or borough distributing the discretionary grants.

She added: “Although the licence this taxi operator holds allows him to take fares in Warwick district, this applicant’s trading address is in Coventry.

“Comparably, there are other businesses which are also able to ‘operate’ their business across multiple areas across UK, but are only eligible for a grant if their business ‘trading address’ is located within the Warwick District boundary. Such examples include holiday lettings businesses.”

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