Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Family Of Suicide Taxi Driver, Puts Up Charity Billboard In Welling

A family from Welling has turned their grief into action after their father took his own life, by helping other men suffering from mental illness.

Joey Barton, a black cab driver, was just 57 years old when he committed suicide on June 23 of this year. His funeral took place on July 19.

After his death, his ex-wife Christine, and their two children, Sam and Chloe, wanted to do something to honour his memory.

“We were absolutely devastated. We never thought it would happen,” Christine told News Shopper.

She describes her ex-husband as “very sociable” with “lots of friends,” which left people shocked and confused when they found out he had died.

At his funeral, a friend who worked alongside Joey on the taxi circuit said he “could not comprehend” the idea he had killed himself.

Just a week before he died, the pair had been “laughing, joking and having a bit of banter.”

Since Joey’s death, Christine told News Shopper she and her children “did not want to sweep it under the carpet,” and, said they wanted to address the issue of suicide rates in men.

So, instead of collecting for flowers at his funeral, Joey’s family asked mourners to donate to a gofundme page set up on behalf of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which works to prevent suicide.

After fundraising and liaising with the charity, and with a bit of help from Christine’s experience in marketing, the family has put up a billboard under the railway bridge in Welling, at the junction of Bellegrove Road and Westwood Lane. It will be on display until September 12.

“It was my son’s idea,” Christine said, after Sam had heard about the charity through a friend, Jamie Kitto, who lives in County Durham.

Jamie has been familiar with the work of CALM for some time, and has managed to campaign for a billboard of his own to be put up at the grounds of Horden Community Welfare FC.

Now the family is asking other organisations across the country to get involved and offer their support to CALM in Joey’s memory.

Christine said: “When you take your own life your pain and suffering does not die with you. It is inherited by your loved ones.

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and it is never, ever, the answer. This is why we have to get men talking, to open up about how they are feeling.

“There is help out there and it's okay not to be okay

Source : News Shopper.

Police Chief Inspector Arrested In Benidorm After Row With Local Taxi Driver

Police in Benidorm were called to the well-known town centre…but it was nothing to do with the traditional problems associated with British Tourists!

This time, it a chief inspector from one of the National Police units based in Valencia who ended up being detained after an alleged altercation with a taxi driver.

According to a report in the Spanish media, two members of the Local Police were slightly injured, apprehending the chief inspector.

It all kicked off in Calle Ibuza in Benidorm, when three people, including the police chief (who was off duty and not in uniform) tried to get into a Taxi that was off duty. 
The driver told the three he was off duty, but it all got out of hand and the local police were called by the driver.

When they arrived at the scene, they arrested one of the men who was described as being “very upset” at what had taken place. His two companions tried to calm the situation down, but the situation became increasingly heated.

When the Chief Inspector was asked to show some ID, he allegedly refused and threatened to report the five members of the Local Police that had arrived.

He was then arrested and taken to the National Police station in Benidorm, where legal proceedings were put into operation.

Source : RTN news.

Businessman says Manchester Airport's drop-off charges have added £50 to his monthly Uber bill

A businessman who travels through Manchester Airport every week says the cost of his minicab rides have gone up by £50 a month since new drop-off charges were launched.

Michael Cowell, 34 from Altrincham, travels regularly in his role as a furniture design company director.

Last month, hub bosses introduced ‘kiss and fly’ drop-off charging, with drivers paying £3 for five minutes or £4 for ten minutes - and £25 for stays over that.

The airport has long had a £4 minimum car parking charge in place. But drivers used to avoid paying this by using forecourts to pick up - against airport rules.

However forecourts have now been taken over by the drop-off charging bays - which means drivers picking up passengers now have no choice but to pay.

Michael now claims Uber drivers he has used are passing on both pick up and drop-off charges - plus a premium for waiting time - taking his average journey cost from £17 to £23, and his monthly outlay from around £136 to £184.

And that’s when Michael can even get a cab - he says Uber drivers have started to refuse pick-ups from T3 because of the inconvenience and cost.

He added: “Last week fifteen different Uber drivers cancelled on me and I had to get a black cab for £31 because Uber drivers have started to boycott T3 to avoid the hassle of going through the car park now the forecourts are no-go areas.

“Between Manchester Airport’s policies and Uber I’m much worse off. There must be loads of people in the same boat.”

(Image: Manchester Evening News)
The dad-of-two, whose work takes him to destinations across the UK, Ireland and France, added: “It sounds like small costs but it adds up pretty quickly for someone like me.

“I understand the airport needs to pay for its expansion but this new parking system hasn’t gone down well.

“It’s harder to drop off and it’s harder to pick up because you are now forced through a car park. It’s expensive.

“I’d like the airport to make it work better and review the charges because they’re unfair.”

He added: “I’d like to see the director of the airport comment on this. I’ve got this old-fashioned mentality that the leaders of an airport should get involved when there’s clearly a problem.

“Yet when I complain I just get this stock answer which doesn’t address my complaint.”

A Manchester Airport spokesman said private hire companies were responsible for setting their own fares and that drivers can apply for a discount scheme.

The spokesman added there was a free drop-off option at the Jet Parks 1 which cab drivers can also use to avoid fees.

A Manchester Airport, spokesman, said: “As we developed our new forecourt arrangements, we considered the interests of a significant number of user groups. This included frequent commercial users, such as private hire operators, for whom a discount scheme was developed.

“While it is the decision of each private hire firm whether they pass on this discount, it was our intention in creating the scheme that passengers would be the ultimate beneficiaries. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

An Uber spokesman confirmed drivers were passing on the charges from the airport, but declined to comment further

Source Manchester Evening News.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Keeping It In The Family : Baron James Arbuthnot Asked To Return Excessive Expenses... A Blast From The Past !

With thanks to Diana Jordan

James Arbuthnot, the chairman of the defence select committee, has been asked to pay back £12,241 in gardening, cleaning and maintenance claims that have been deemed “excessive” by the independent auditor.

The member for North East Hampshire, who went to Eton and is the second son of a baronet, was not told how much he should repay for other claims, however, and has offered to give back £13,486 in total.

Mr Arbuthnot designated a rented property in a Hampshire village as his second home in 2007, which he told the fees office was “an expensive house to run”.
He submitted one hand-written invoice for a three-month period, for "grass, strim, pool, fuel'', which came to £776. The bill for these services for the whole 2006-07 financial year was pounds £1,471.
When The Daily Telegraph disclosed his claims, he said he had made an “error of judgment” in using public funds to clean his swimming pool and promised to repay the money.

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Mr Arbuthnot has been told by Sir Thomas, who has been brought in to assess all claims made under the second home allowance since 2004, that he must pay back £5,840 for gardening services that exceeded his retrospective limit of £1,000 a year.

He was also asked to pay back £5,238 for cleaning services after going over the £2,000 annual maximum set by the auditor, and just over £1,000 for a maintenance bill about which he was asked to provide further details.
Mr Arbuthnot said Sir Thomas did not suggest an amount he should repay for other bills - such as repairs to a summerhouse that the auditor says were not claimable because it was not attached to his second home - so has suggested figures himself.

He told a local newspaper that he had been asked to repay £12,241 but proposed to pay back £13,486 in total. He has already paid back £10,106 since June.
In a covering letter to Sir Thomas, Mr Arbuthnot said: “I have consistently supported efforts to ensure the expenses system is replaced with procedures which are fair, honest and transparent.”

Source :-
MPs' expenses
News »
UK News »
Martin Beckford »
In MPs' Expenses
How the Daily Telegraph exposed the dry rot fraudster
MPS' expenses: the most bizarre claims 
Bizarre MPs' expense claims
Mother and son both claimed for flat owned by her daughter  
Keeping it in the family

The Real Reason Judge Emma Arbuthnot Stepped Down. SPD Complaint 13/07/2018

Below is Sean Paul Day's letter of complaint to the Judical Conducts Office.
Why is it that again, an ordinary rank and file working driver has had to do what drivers are paying their respective orgs to do. 

I’m writing amidst the growing concern over what appears to be a conflict of interest where certain political affiliations might be construed as showing favour in respect of a particular company,  undermining the Chief Magistrate’s impartiality in two cases.
Senior District Judge (chief magistrate) Emma Arbuthnot oversaw proceedings at Westminster Magistrates court on the 6th July 2018 and Reading Magistrates Court on the 10th July 2018. The first case was brought by Uber as a matter of  appeal under the Private Hire Vehicles Act 1998 and by Reading Council in a case to determine if a driver using the Uber ‘model’ on the dates given was Plying for Hire? Both cases can be found here 
Case 1
Case 2
The conflict arises due to Magistrate Arbuthnot’s marriage to Baron James Arbuthnotand his friendship with the former PM David Cameron. Cameron’s close relationship with individuals working for Uber in marquee positions is well documented. This is further evidenced by Uber’s close links with  the previous administration at Number 10 & 11  who now enjoy financially rewarding positions with companies who invest heavily in Uber Technologies Inc. Cameron also nominated James Arbuthnot as a Life Peer in the Dissolution Peerages List 2015 of August 2015. The concern is that JamesArbuthnot’s closeness to the former PM might compromise Magistrate Arbuthnot’s ability to apply discernment in cases involving Uber. The concern is legitimately heightened on learning the same Magistrate has presided over a second trial involving Uber and both times Magistrate Arbuthnot has ruled in Uber’s favour. 
Without considering the merits of both cases in detail the conflict of interest was compounded on during the Reading verdict when Judge Emma Arbuthnot on Page 4, section 14 (how the app works)…in her summary stated that it was the driver who accepts the job and only then Uber makes the booking. This is illegal act that contravenes  legislation laid out as part of the 1998 PH Regulations.
TfL Operator License explicitly state in their terms that a Private Hire booking can only be accepted by a licensed operator at their registered operating centre.. There is a specific duty on private hire operators to keep certain records of their operation. These include booking records which must include ‘the main destination specified at the time of the booking’ (paragraph 4(d) of the PHV (London) (Operators’ Licence) Regulations. To disambiguate, the defining characteristic of a PHVs is that it must beaccepted through an operator. The Act also references  that no person other than a Private Hire Operator (PHO) shall make provision to accept a booking.  
No person shall in London make provision for the invitation or acceptance of  Private hire bookings unless he is the holder of a Private Hire Operators license for London (In this Act, referred to as London is PHV operators license
A  person who makes provision for the invitation or acceptance of Private hire bookings or who accept such a booking in contravention of his section is guilty offence and liable  on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level four or standard style.
The statutory structure/definition is referred to frequently by TfL and was referenced in the legislative provisions before Justice Ouseley. 
CITATION Number: [2015] EWHC 2918 Admin Case No: CO/1449/2015. 
Conversely, at the earlier trial on the 6th, Magistrate Arbuthnot was unhesitant in her acceptance of an explanation that Uber had altered its app, and was now equipped with a feature informing the user that the booking had been accepted by Uber London LTD (ULL). Only afterwards is the user linked with a driver. If this is the case, and as yet there is no evidence to suggest it has been altered,  the app would now comply with current legislation. 
This I starkly inconsistent with  ‘the driver accepts...then uber confirms the booking…‘nevertheless, Arbuthnot ruled that his actions did not constitute plying for hire. Itshould be noted also that Uber do not hold a PHO licence in Reading. 
The case holds gravitas as a ruling either-way could detrimentally impact on the lives of tens of thousands of sole traders and their families. It would also elevate a corporate entity to a position that resides above the law of the land. The concern here, is that a certain ruling will be used to determine future  Government policies which are relevant to both cases.
Whilst the complexity of the issue  – such as what constitutes a Hackney Carriage- cannot be understated and until such clarity can be addressed in the Courts, it would be easy for perspicacity to prevail and weight the trial in favour of vested interests. A seismic shift culturally, in the way we move about has implications that reach far beyond taxi and minicab rivalries, and a Magistrate influenced  by a conflict of interest could prove to be a very dangerous one
I trust the matter will be looked in to. 
Yours Faithfully
Sean Paul Day
London Taxi Radio

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : from Lenny Etheridge (Dads Defending Daughters).

We exposed Peter Anderson, Managing Director of the Canary Wharf Group, which received a £2.6bn takeover investment from the QIA, who invested a similar amount into Uber. Mr Anderson was a cheif member of the TfL Board which promoted Uber and allowed them to illegally operate.

Must read, by Tim Fenton aka @zelo_street.

"Does this not put the decision made at Uber’s London appeal hearing in doubt?  How can that verdict now stand?"

"Moreover, the promised changes to the Uber app ... have not been tested by a software engineer."

Sunday, August 19, 2018

LCDC Chairman Grant Davis Calls For a uber Re-Trial After Vested Interest Claim In National Press.

As news broke yesterday (which we already new) that Uber appeal Judge Emma Arbuthnot and her husband had a vested interest in the Minicab App Uber, first one up to the plate early this morning, was the London Cab Drivers Club. 

They took to social media:
Once again it surfaces of "vested interests" & the Cab Trade maybe not getting a fair hearing in the Courts over UBER - Plan B ?

Drivers immediately were calling for action on the street and one prominent trade rep said "I’m sure someone’s arranging the placards as we speak".

London Cab Drivers Club Chairman Grant Davis, made this statement earlier this morning:

The Taxi trade needs to come together and Demonstrate against yet another injustice we have had to endure. We need a full investigation from the legal Ombudsman and a Re-trial .
Complete stitch up again.

It will be very interesting over the next few days to see if Reading Council call for a re-trial after their verdict from Emma Arbuthnot went again in Uber's favour!

Read the damming article which appeared on-line in the Observer yesterday. 

Taken from the LCDC face book group.

TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Lenny Etheridge 
One of Uber's QC's stated, during the Uber license appeal, that Jo Bertram committed perjury, to win a case.

Judge Emma #Arbuthnot never batted an eyelid.

Why was this serious crime not taken any further by the judiciary?

Bertram lied during employment and during meter cases!