Hundreds of taxi drivers from across the country will be lobbying parliament today (Tuesday 2 July) warning that deregulation of the industry could hit standards and lead to chaos on our roads.
Taxi drivers belonging to Unite, GMB and RMT unions, will be lobbying MPs from 16:00 over Law Commission proposals which could see less regulated private hire vehicles ply for hire at set times, nights and weekends and allow members of the public to wave them down like Hackney cabs.
The proposals are currently being considered by the Law Commission as part of a package of plans to deregulate the industry by merging the rules covering taxis and private hire vehicles and replacing local with national licensing arrangements.
The unions are fearful that if the plans go ahead it could lead to passengers being ripped-off and make it easier for criminals to pose as ‘rogue’ taxi drivers and increase the risk to passengers.
The Law Commission’s proposals come despite the transport select committee advising against any changes.
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: "The Law Commission’s plans could hit standards and destroy the UK taxi trade. The deregulation of the taxi industry could lead to criminals posing as ‘rogue’ taxi drivers, passengers being ripped off and chaos on our streets with people unsure about whether the taxi they have flagged is legitimate or not.
"Today taxi drivers from across the country will be urging MPs to listen to their concerns, protect standards and help ensure the industry continues to give a great service to customers.”
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The licensed taxi industry is under unprecedented attack through deregulation and a systematic attempt to water down standards and rules that have served the public so well down the years.
“The total contempt that has been shown to the taxi industry through the Law Commission proposals is a scandal and this lobby will give politicians a chance to hear directly from the taxi drivers themselves.”
Mick Rix, GMB national officer for the transport sector, said: "The proposals by the Law Commission on the taxi industry will damage and destroy the taxi industry. The House of Commons transport select committee last year published a report that would have enabled taxi transport in the UK to be held as a beacon to the rest of the world. It would have brought a safer, and more passenger friendly industry.
"The current proposals by the Law Commission, on behalf of the government, have ignored the cross party transport select committee proposals. The Law Commission proposals will destroy the tremendous passenger safety culture, established over many years in the industry. The proposals will also potentially lead to more women being put at risk to assault and attack who have to travel late at night, by unlicensed and unregulated drivers. The government should follow the proposals put forward by the cross party committee of experts that make up the transport select committee. These proposals have found favour by many in the industry, the trade unions, and the licensing authorities.
"The last time the Tories where in power, they nearly destroyed the railway industry, this time they may be supporting proposals by the Law Commission, which will destroy our great taxi industry. We want MPs to understand, that GMB taxi drivers are incensed at the proposals to destroy the taxi industry, and urge all MPs and the government to support the common sense approach adopted by the experts of the Transport Select Committee with knowledge of the taxi industry, and reject these daft, unsafe and dangerous proposals from the Law Commission, and consign them to the dustbin of history for all time."
- Unite - Alex Flynn 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869
- RMT - Geoff Martin on 07831 465 103
- GMB - Steve Pryle 07921 289 880 or Mick Rix on 07971 268 343