Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Government abandon Clause 10 of the Deregulation Bill:

Editorial Comment:

The report below is a massive victory for the RMT, GMB and Unite unions, who alongside Police, Crime Commissioners and Local Government campaigned tirelessly to get clause 10 dropped from the Deregulation Bill 

It is now up to our trade representation here in London to demand parity with the rest of the country on this particular issue. How much easier would enforcement be if a driver could not use the excuse I've just borrowed this car, I'm picking up a friend, I'm not working. 

Our trade reps should now be seeking the support of all groups who helped achieve this victory including the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Survivors Trust and local Govenment associations.

When it comes to robbery, rape and serious sexual assaults....LONDON IS NOT DIFFERENT.

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 climbdown 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.”

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. 

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.’ 

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.

Government scraps plans to relax taxi licensing rules

LGA press release 15 October 2014

Commenting on the Government's withdrawal of plans to relax taxi licensing rules within the Deregulation Bill, Cllr Ann Lucas OBE, Chair of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:

"We are delighted that after concerted LGA lobbying, the Government has listened to our concerns and withdrawn plans to relax rules about who can drive licensed minicabs. Councils – alongside children's charities, personal safety organisations and taxi drivers themselves – have long-warned that this unwanted change would increase the public safety risk to people using minicabs.

"When people get into a taxi, they put their trust in the fact that the person driving the car has been vetted and licensed and that it is safe to be in a vehicle with them, especially if they are travelling alone. Anyone getting into a minicab should be assured that the only person allowed to drive the car has had their background checked, and it is right that Government has now agreed to let councils maintain this protection.

"Government should also now delete the two remaining taxi clauses in the Deregulation Bill, which would increase the length of driver licences and enable minicab firms to sub-contract bookings to other firms from different areas, without any requirement to tell the person making a booking.

"Our own opinion polling shows 80 per cent of women would be concerned if they booked a journey with one firm and a different one turned up.

"Councils support comprehensive reform of taxi licensing but on the basis of the whole of the recent Law Commission report and not through this unwise piecemeal approach that could have a negative impact on public safety."

The poll found:

Seventy-three per cent of people polled would be very or fairly concerned if they booked a minicab from one firm and a minicab from another firm turned up – including 80 per cent of women.

Eighty-five per cent of those polled said they were fairly or very concerned about the plans – including 91 per cent of women.

Telephone Omnibus – Populus Data Solutions
(Minicab survey data (PDF, 5 pages, 61KB))

A representative telephone survey of 741 English adults aged 18+, living outside of London, was conducted. London residents were excluded since the proposed new taxi licensing rules already apply in London.

The survey took place 10-12 October 2014.

50 per cent of the sample was contacted via landline and 50 per cent via mobile to ensure that the correct proportion of mobile only households is achieved.
Sample methodology: RDD (Random Digit Dialling).

Quotas are set on age, gender and region and the data weighted to the known GB profile of age, gender, region, social grade, taken a foreign holiday in the last three years, tenure, number of cars in the household, working status, and mobile only household.

The Government has dropped Clause 10 from the Deregulation Bill which would have allowed anyone to drive a licensed minicab when off duty. This follows extensive LGA lobbying supported by the NSPCC, Barnardo's, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Victim's Support, Age UK and the GMB Taxi Union.

Further taxi and minicab clauses remaining within the Bill will end annual license renewal for minicab drivers and enable minicab operators to subcontract a booking to another operator, licensed in a different area. The Bill returns to the House of Lords Committee Stage on Tuesday 21 October.


Anonymous said...

Remember boys and girls that's Labour looking after your interests, protecting your jobs / that's what they traditionally do for working class people / like taxi drivers / no sign of UKIP or any other right wing nonsense / careful where you put that X on your ballot paper. Don't be a turkey voting for Christmas / be lucky :)

Anonymous said...

Is there anything in this bill that say's yb's can pick up anywhere from an app. please if some can tell me the proper facts and not bullshit info from the ranks. I would be grateful

Anonymous said...

Just who are our trade representatives
because for the last 11 years they haven't looked after my interests they only looked after their own.

I'm Sparatcus said...

London is differential, said the 'activists' of London UNITE (former socialists Hedges, Kelly and Peter Bond) along with the local taxi associations LTDA, LCDC.

Now we want this in London that a PH can only be used by a PH driver making enforcement much more likely.

It's a sad day when London UNITE TU officials come alongside what are effectively businesses to exclude their brothers and sisters in other unions.

A day of victory for some and a day of shame for others.

Sam D said...

Labour really helped the working class letting 5 million foreigners into the country.......

Anonymous said...

The Tories couldn't have done any better because whoever is in power has to adhere to the treaty of Rome which governs the free movement of labour.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:42

There is nothing in this bill that allows yellow badges to accept app work whilst outside your licenced area.

You can accept any job regardless of pick up location or destination as long as you are in your licenced area when you accept this job.

The law commission may abolish plying for hire and allow yellow badge drivers to accept pre booked jobs regardless of their location in the future....but the current apps available would not fit this description as an exact pick up location and destination as well as an estimated price are required at the time of the driver accepting the booking to qualify as a legal booking and current apps requirements at time of acceptance can only qualify the job as an electronic hail.

Of course if the law is changed there is a good chance that the format of these apps will change in your favour and you will be able to pick them up from anywhere, but until then I'm afraid the truth is no more attractive than the "bullshit from the ranks"!

Be lucky!!

Anonymous said...

Labour have never helped the London Taxi Trade,I remember Merlyn Rees back in the 70s, 5 years without an increase, and that was a time of massive inflation. All Labour ever do is flood the market with unskilled workers from abroad, for votes. Oh and keep the poor poor. The Labour Party is only concered with one thing and thats the Labour Party

Anonymous said...

Sam it's not immigrants nicking your job / it's a load of civil servants at TFL. And the stereotype that cab drivers are racists persists. If this is who we are then we are not fit and proper persons and London will abandon us - this is a city with a story of hundreds of years of immigration. It's an essential part of who this city is.

Spirit of 45 said...

Anon. 09.44

Today we had a Tory Minister suggesting that the most unfortunate members of society should beaid £2.00 an hour!

That from a millionaire who gets £300.00 a day TAX FREE from the House of Lords for showing his face.

The Labour Party is a long long way from perfect but the other mob just want a sweat shop!
For proof we have unemployment falling yet tax receipts stagnant.

If you want to talk history, remember the Tories opposed the old age pension, the start of the NHS, the minimum wage and many other progressive measures.

Think on my friend.

Mfctaxi6 said...

Anon 9.30pm

The current law allows any hackney carriage to except any pre booked job anywhere in the uk . You DO NOT have to be in your licenced area to do job,app or otherwise. also hackney carriages are allowed direct contact with customer to take a booking.i:e I could be sitting outside my licenced area when some one approaches me to see if I'm available, all I have to do is get them to ring my phone to take a "booking" and I am covered.

Editorial said...

Anon 5:26
Please read this email carefully. It's from TfL's Helen Chapman

Dear Jim

I hope you are well!

Thank you for your email of 31 July which has been passed to me for a response. I apologise for the delay in replying.

A licensed taxi driver can undertake radio or app bookings that start and finish outside the area for which they are licensed, as long as the driver is in their licence area when they ply for, or accept, the hiring. In the event that a driver accepts a booking, or plies for hire, while outside of their licence area, they would be acting unlawfully and appropriate enforcement action would be taken. You may be aware that this was a matter that was recently addressed in our consultation on licensing taxi services in suburban London.

Whether a taxi is plying for hire is a matter of fact and although the illumination of the ‘For Hire’ light is a factor to be taken into account, it is not determinative of itself.

I hope that this clarifies our position but please don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

Kind regards