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Unite Campaign Victory: Government Clime-down On Taxi Deregulation

15/10/2014

NEWS FROM LABOUR: We welcome the Government’s climb-down on their disastrous proposal to deregulate taxis, which would have put women’s safety at risk

Mary Creagh, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the news that the Government have abandoned Clause 10 of the Deregulation Bill, said:

“We welcome the Government’s climb-down on their disastrous proposal to deregulate taxis, which would have put women’s safety at risk. However, Ministers are still pressing ahead with their risky plans to loosen taxi licensing and allowing cabs to work out of area, which Labour, alongside safety charities, has opposed.

“Ministers need urgently to review these final two measures and we repeat our offer to work with them to get the rogues off the road.”

June 2014: Unite cab trade delegation hands in thousands of petition leaflets opposing Government deregulation proposals to Labour MP’s Maria Eagle and Richard Burden

More on Government Deregulation plans

1. On 14 October DfT dropped Clause 10 from the Deregulation Bill

Clause 10 would have enabled people who don’t hold a private hire vehicle license to drive one when it is “off duty”. Safety campaigners and local government had warned this reform has the potential to increase the number of unlicensed drivers pretending to be legitimate.

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/deregulation.html

2. The Government failed to publish an Impact Assessment until 8 months after the reforms were proposed

The taxi and minicab reforms were added to the Deregulation Bill in March 2014. But the Government didn’t publish an impact assessment on their rushed and risky reforms until Labour asked for one on the 1 October 2014. It confirmed that the reform ‘could lead to an increase in illegal use of licensed vehicles.’

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/ukia/2014/295

3. Campaigners, Police and Crime Commissioners, Local Government and the trade joined Labour in opposing the reforms

Organisations including the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and the Survivors Trust, the  Local Government Association, 17 cross-party police and crime commissioners and various industry bodies had opposed the reforms. Labour voted against the clauses in the Deregulation Bill at Report Stage in the Commons and will continue to oppose them in the House of Lords.

4. Remaining Taxi and Minicab Clauses of the Bill

Clause 11 of the Deregulation Bill will end annual license renewal for minicab drivers, which helps licensing authorities recognise changes to a drivers’ convictions or medical status. Clause 12 will enable minicab operators to subcontract a booking to another operator, licensed in a different area. Local licensing officers don’t currently have the powers to enforce safety in respect of vehicles in other areas.

5. Conclusions from Rotherham Report on Taxis and Minicabs

The Inquiry concluded that “one of the common threats running through child sexual exploitation across England has been the prominent role of taxi drivers in being linked to children who were abused.” The Inquiry found that young women in Rotherham immediately and consistently avoided taxis as a form of transport because of safety fears, and issued a clear warning about the poor enforcement powers of local licensing officers. The author of the Independent Inquiry into Rotherham, Alexis Jay OBE, has warned against attempt to water down taxi and minicab reforms.

http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham

See also…

London’s Cabbies Take Their Fight To City Hall

London Taxi Drivers Demonstration 24th September 2014

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