The announcement this week from the First Minister that a number of restrictions will be relaxed in the coming days and weeks is undoubtedly welcome.

The ability to meet with a wider circle of people, albeit outside, cannot come soon enough. I for one am really looking forward to taking a trip outside Glasgow for the first time in months.

With the promise of better weather just around the corner it will be wonderful to rediscover some semblance of freedom.

We are, however, probably still months away from a return to anything approaching normality. A wide range of activities will remain restricted or forbidden and as a result entire sections of our economy will continue to suffer. I have written here before about the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on our night-time economy, the live music industry and other aspects of our cultural and entertainment sector.

It is still far from clear when this sector will be permitted to start operating again. In the meantime businesses are struggling to survive and staff currently on furlough have little certainty that there will be jobs to return to. Support funds have been made available, but all reports suggest that may businesses have found the application process difficult and significant numbers have been unsuccessful in their applications.

One particular group of workers I receive regular complaints from are taxi drivers, both black cab and private hire. Though they have been allowed to operate throughout the pandemic the vast majority of their business has simply evaporated. One of my own constituents regularly describes hours spent on the rank in Gordon Street for a single fare. A special fund for taxi drivers was established earlier this year though it was limited to £1500 per driver. Across Scotland only 64% of drivers have received any payment and only 57% of the monies have been distributed.

Some local authorities, West Dunbartonshire, Aberdeen and Dundee for example, have allocated additional discretionary funds for the taxi trade offering additional payments of up to £1500. That has not been the case here in Glasgow.

The trade union Unite represents a significant number of taxi drivers here in Glasgow and across the country. For the past several months they have been trying to engage with the leadership of Glasgow City Council seeking urgent support and answers to some basic questions. So far without success. Emails go unanswered and direct requests for comment and engagement are passed to officials for standard responses.

Glasgow has some 20% of all the taxi licenses in Scotland. This is the livelihood of a huge number of individuals and families across our city who have been struggling to make a basic living for over a year. Simply maintaining a taxi on the road involves substantial fixed costs for the vehicle itself, the radio and insurance. A single payment of £1500 only scratches the surface of the losses taxi drivers have faced. Some, inevitably, have simply given up.

It is simply not good enough that this group of, mainly self-employed, workers are being effectively ignored by the political leadership of our city.

Some day in the not too distant future it would be great to go out to a club, a concert or a restaurant. Let’s hope that there’s still a taxi available to take us home.