Ilford North MP proposes new laws at House of Commons to end ‘wild west’ taxi regulation

Black cab driver, Evan Walters of Sackville Gardens, Ilford driving Ilford North MP Wes streeting

Black cab driver, Evan Walters of Sackville Gardens, Ilford driving Ilford North MP Wes streeting - Credit: Archant

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting will present a 10 minute rule bill to the House of Commons today on the future of the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) industry.

The Labour MP argues that change is urgently needed to keep Londoners safe and prevent the iconic black taxi from being driven off London’s roads by ‘wild west’ conditions.

Under the proposed law, all operators of private hire vehicles would be required to insure their drivers, provide training and pay their taxes in the UK in order to gain a licence to operate.

“As a lifelong Londoner I use black cabs, mini cabs and apps like Uber to get around our city – healthy competition through a range of operators is a good thing for passengers and helps keep London moving,” Mr Streeting said.

“But while increased competition and new technology should be working in the interests of passengers, the explosion in the number of private hire vehicles on London’s streets has led to too many drivers with insufficient insurance and poor training.

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“Some operators are also trying to drive their competition off the road through new apps by offering lower fares made possible by offshore tax arrangements – effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The MP has drawn up the bill in consultation with the Licensed Taxi Driver’s Association, Addison Lee, RMT Union and the Hailo app and has outlined key areas he want to address.

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He wants to improve training and increase the basic training requirements for those seeking a PHV licence, guarantee insurance – switching to an “operators insurance” system where PHV companies are responsible for insuring their drivers, and make sure operators including multinationals pay fair taxes on money eared in the UK by closing “legal loopholes” which enable profits to be transferred to another country.

Mr Streeting added: “These wild west conditions in one of London’s most important transport industries are unacceptable and of we’re not careful, London’s iconic black cabs will be driven off the road by shoddy competitors.

“The Mayor of London has failed to tackle these issues and Transport for London needs to get its act together to promote fair competition and passenger safety.

“My message to taxi and minicab operators in London is simple: insure your drivers, train your drivers and pay your taxes or get off our streets – every Londoner should be able to get into a minicab knowing that it’s insured, that the driver is well trained and that the operator pays its fair share of taxes and my bill will see to that.”

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