Last week, the Government announced details of the 2021 budget. Some of the new measures announced were in support of the self-employed and those working from home. Dhai Almutairi spoke with a taxi driver directly impacted by these changes.
Budget 2021 is one of the most anticipated budgets in the State’s history, aimed at tackling and recovering from the fallout of two major issues, the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit.
The public waited to see how the Government would respond to the hard challenges facing the State.
The Government declared that people who are self-employed would be able to request the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) while taking up intermittent work.
This measure is directed at supporting those who have been severely affected by the pandemic. This means that self-employed workers will be able to obtain a total of €480 a month, or €120 a week without losing the payment.
Self-employed workers are set to also benefit from increased tax credits announced in the budget.
The income tax credit for self-employed workers is set to rise by €150, and this increase will also retroactively apply for 2020. The income tax credit will be included in line with the PAYE tax credit that workers can claim.
While many self-employed workers welcomed the new measures, others, including taxi drivers, believe these measures are not enough.
Adedayo Odin, a Nigerian-Irish taxi driver in Dublin, has been a taxi driver for over ten years.
He talked to TheCity.ie about the changes taxi drivers have experienced since the lockdown and the new remarks announced in Budget 2021.
“As a taxi driver myself, we need support from the state at this incredibly difficult time; with the budget announced last week, things became more difficult and unbearing,” said Odin.
This pandemic has deeply affected the taxi industry with the collapse in tourism and the complete absence of sporting and social activities. Many taxi drivers are “struggling to make ends meet now,” he said.
“I expected that there would be particular measures aimed for taxi drivers in the budget meeting; we need support, and the government should put special support in place for this sector,” he said.
The Budget 2021 included some new measures that could negatively affect taxi drivers.
The Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe announced many new changes last week, including an increase in fuel prices.
Green vehicle tax breaks and higher VRT rates for polluting vehicles were some of the other measures to impact commuters nationally.
“Many of my taxi driver friends and others are working in the pandemic at low payment in important services, driving frontline workers to their jobs and from their jobs, and yet we weren’t specifically mentioned in the budget,” said Odin.
Over the past ten years, Odin had always parked his taxi at the end of Grafton Street, along with many other taxi drivers. Due to the introduction of level 5 restrictions this week, this street will be quiet and they will see far less customers.
“I miss this part of my morning so much, things started to look good in the summer, but I couldn’t see my friends and hang out with them like before,” expressed Odin.
“My mother lives with my family and me, and being a taxi driver does scare me that I might infect her,” he said.