WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
LGA: Taxi reforms urgently needed as licensed driver numbers hit record high
Outdated and flawed taxi laws need urgently reforming as new figures show the number of licensed drivers and vehicles have hit a record high, the Local Government Association has said
The LGA is calling on the Government to strengthen taxi and private hire legislation - some of which dates back to 1847 and horse-drawn hackney carriages - to improve passenger safety in light of the proliferation of app-based taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) companies and increased out-of-area working.
It comes as the latest figures show:
- The total number of licensed taxi and PHVs in England increased to 291,800 in 2019, an increase of 58 per cent on the 184,500 licensed vehicles in 2005 when comparable records were first collected.
- These figures have largely been driven by a surge in licensed PHVs, which have risen to 221,200 in 2019, a staggering increase of 83 per cent on the 120,400 PHVs in 2005.
- The number of people licensed to drive taxis and PHVs also increased substantially over the same period, rising by 50 per cent, from 242,000 people to 362,000.
The LGA is warning that due to outdated legislation and new technology, councils cannot take enforcement action against the rising numbers of unlicensed drivers operating in their area.
Councils argue that revamped taxi laws could make enforcement easier through introducing a common set of licensing standards and be updated to reflect new technology which would help reduce the risk of child sexual exploitation, improve passenger safety, and create a level playing field for drivers by tackling out-of-area working.
The LGA is also calling for national minimum licensing standards for drivers of taxis and PHVs, and a mandatory national database of all licensed taxi and PHV drivers.
In order to strengthen licensing processes, the LGA last year launched its own national register of taxi and PHV licences which have been refused or revoked so councils can check new applicants against the database and update it with their own information.
But whilst updated statutory guidance for councils around taxi licensing is a positive step, it says ultimately the best way to strengthen safeguarding measures and ensure a level playing field for all drivers is for government to update taxi laws.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“Updating outdated and flawed taxi licensing laws has never been more urgent to provide safer journeys for the public and fairer business for drivers.
“The Government must stick to the commitment that was made earlier this year to reform taxi legislation.
“Reforms are needed to reflect the increasing use of mobile phone apps to book taxis and private hire vehicles and to give councils national enforcement powers so they can take action against any vehicles operating in their areas irrespective of where they are licensed.
“Safeguarding legislation needs to be strengthened following well-documented child exploitation cases where taxi and PHV drivers have abused the trust placed in them.
“Undue delay risks public safety.”
Notes to editors
- Taxi and private hire vehicle legislation is primarily concentrated in the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
- Government’s response to the Task and Finish Group on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing report in February announced plans for new legislation.
- Taxi and private hire vehicle statistics, England 2019 show that the total number of licensed vehicles increased by 2.5 per cent (7,200 vehicles) between 2018 and 2019 and that PHV licences increased by 4.4 per cent (9,732 vehicles) over the same period.
- In July 2018, the LGA launched a national register of taxi and PHV licence refusals and revocations - www.local.gov.uk/topics/licences-regulations-and-trading-standards/new-national-register-taxi-and-private-hire
- LGA handbook for councillors to provide best practice in taxi licensing.
Latest News from
WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
CBI responds to latest women on boards data15/11/2019 11:05:00
The CBI has responded to the data from the Hampton-Alexander review, which looks into increasing the number of women on boards and in senior leadership positions across the FTSE 350.
LGA - Child abuse linked to witchcraft rises by a third, councils reveal14/11/2019 16:40:00
The number of children in England identified by councils as having been abused for reasons associated with witchcraft have risen by a third in the past three years, the Local Government Association reveals today.
CIPD - Positive progress masks ongoing challenges for women in reaching the top of UK businesses14/11/2019 15:40:00
The CIPD responds to the latest findings of the Hampton-Alexander Review
NHS Confederation - Labour’s mental health focus continues momentum, says Mental Health Network14/11/2019 14:40:00
Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, responded to the Labour Party’s election pledge for NHS funding
LGA responds to Sustain report on junk food planning policies14/11/2019 13:40:00
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responded to a report by Sustain on the need for new planning policies to restrict new hot food takeaways near schools
Citizens Advice top tips for safe and savvy consumers on Black Friday14/11/2019 12:40:00
In the last year, Citizens Advice consumer service has dealt with almost half a million consumer-related issues like faulty washing machines, undelivered parcels and fake designer goods. Over 50,000 of these were during November 2018, by far the busiest month for the consumer service.
FRC: Future of Corporate Reporting Survey (2 days to respond)14/11/2019 12:15:00
A reminder that the FRC’s Future of Corporate Reporting Survey closes on 15 November.
CIPD - The UK jobs machine continues to deliver despite Brexit uncertainty14/11/2019 11:40:00
UK employers continue to shrug off Brexit uncertainty with new hires
LGA responds to Citizens Advice council tax report14/11/2019 10:40:00
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, responds to the report by Citizens Advice on council tax collection practices.
Counter-productive council tax collection practices work for no one, says Citizens Advice14/11/2019 09:40:00
Households struggling to pay their council tax are being pushed into further debt as outdated regulations see councils resort to bailiffs to collect arrears, says Citizens Advice in new research published yesterday.