CASH-strapped taxi drivers in East Renfrewshire have demanded more public money to help them through the Covid crisis.

Their trade union, Unite, has said the current £1,500 grants from the Scottish Government are not enough, with some drivers making as little as £50 a day while on the road.

Instead, they would like to see council chiefs plug the gap following the collapse of the local taxi trade over the past year.

Around 250 taxi drivers in East Renfrewshire have received a total of £423,000 in financial support from the Scottish Government over the last four months but Unite are urging the council to use special discretionary funds to provide further help.

Union officials have pointed out that council bosses in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Angus have provided individual grants of up to £1,000 per driver.

Unite is also calling on East Renfrewshire Council and other local authorities to suspend all licence fees for a year to ease the financial strain on cabbies.

East Renfrewshire cabbies can apply for their £1,500 grant from the Scottish Government’s Taxi and Private Hire Driver Support Fund, launched in December.

However, Unite want a separate £10,000 government grant per driver.

Charlie McDonald, Unite industrial officer, said: “The taxi trade is in dire straits and it needs all the support it can get.

“An online survey of taxi drivers showed that 30 per cent had been unable to access any financial help from government support schemes.”

The Scottish Government said it has provided an extra £120million to allow councils to direct business support funding to specific groups such as taxi drivers."

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesperson added: “We’re looking at a number of initiatives at the moment to support our taxi drivers.”