Taxi drivers "facing very real hardship" need clarification on when they can expect financial assistance, Richard Leonard has urged. 

The Scottish Labour leader is urging First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to outline when support will be available for cab drivers. 

A £30million "discretionary fund” is being made available to councils to allow them to support businesses, including taxi drivers. 

Mr Leonard said taxi drivers had been contacting him “seeking urgent advice” about when the cash will be available.

Many drivers have suffered major drops in income during the pandemic - but still need to cover costs associated with their vehicle and insurance.

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Mr Leonard said “many are facing very real hardship”, and his office has been “inundated with queries from taxi drivers”.

In a letter to Ms Sturgeon, he said: “Many are scouring the websites of their local authorities for further information, but this does not yet appear to be available.

“Can I therefore request that you provide information on when these funds will be allocated and disbursed to local authorities, and provide an indication as to when this group of workers may be able to access these funds.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said further details about the fund – which was promised when Ms Sturgeon announced 11 council areas were being placed in Level 4 restrictions earlier this month – will be announced “shortly”.

The spokeswoman said: “We have listened to businesses and tailored our support throughout this unprecedented economic crisis. Our total package for businesses is over £2.3 billion and we have announced an additional £45 million in funding will be made available to local authorities to support businesses impacted by coronavirus.

“We welcome the extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme so drivers can obtain 80% of previous earnings. We are currently considering further support for fixed costs pressures on self-employed taxi drivers and others.

“We are actively taking steps to fill in the gaps in UK-wide schemes. This includes £15 million for newly self-employed people who are not able to access other forms of financial support.

“We are also establishing a £30 million discretionary fund to enable local authorities to provide additional support for businesses where they consider that necessary.

“The Scottish Government is working closely with local authorities in developing these funds and further details will be announced shortly.”