Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Councillor Davey said: “I’m disappointed but not surprised that the taxi drivers haven’t heard back from Council. In my opinion this shows how the Coalition between the Liberals and the Tories running scrutiny is failing the people of Northumberland. This is why the Labour group is demanding an independent investigation into why a petition of 1500 names has been ignored and why a council committee chaired by Councillor Castle hasn’t saw fit to act on public concerns about public safety’

PRESS RELEASE
LABOUR CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION AS TAXI LICENSING IS BRANDED ‘CHAOTIC’
Concerns raised as concerns about legality of licensing scheme are ignored
Questions are being raised about the ‘fitness for purpose of Northumberland County Council’s Taxi Licensing regime’ after whistleblowers lodged concerns and a petition nearly a year ago. The petition and concerns were based on the county payments scheme and alleged unequal and discriminatory way the licensing scheme was being applied. The council is coming under increased pressure to review its licensing scheme which still relies on practices inherited from the disbanded district council’s and allegations tabled when the 1500 name petition was submitted alleged the council was ‘turning a blind eye to licences which had expired’ and that its fees and charges scheme was potentially unlawful because of the stipulations it insisted on such as the requirement to renew (and pay) every year when other professions were only required to renew every three years.
The petition was lodged with the council’s Economic Prosperity and Overview Services committee in April 2012, which is chaired by Coun Gordon Castle which agreed to look at the issue and report back. So far it has failed to do so.
Councillor Davey said: “I’m disappointed but not surprised that the taxi drivers haven’t heard back from Council. In my opinion this shows how the Coalition between the Liberals and the Tories running scrutiny is failing the people of Northumberland. This is why the Labour group is demanding an independent investigation into why a petition of 1500 names has been ignored and why a council committee chaired by Councillor Castle hasn’t saw fit to act on public concerns about public safety’.  
 Notes for Editors
In April 2012 Northumberland Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers put forward a petition to Northumberland County Council to have their licensing and payments scheme investigated and the unequal and discriminatory nature of its application resolved.

A 1500 name petition was submitted to full Council by two Taxi drivers, Mr David Walls and Mr Malcolm Skinner.
Mr David Walls spoke on behalf of the petitioners and highlighted a number of concerns which included:-
• The County Council had inherited a situation which should not have been allowed to continue after LGR.
• Licences issued by Berwick upon Tweed Borough Council should have expired some time ago but were still in existence.
• Licences in the former Blyth Valley area had increased from 47 to 350+.
• The charge being levied to change from private hire to hackney carriage was unfair.
• The requirement to pay the administration fee for a CRB check was unfair, as was the requirement to renew on an annual basis when other professions only had to renew every three years.
• The requirement for Group 2 medical standards was in breach of regulations.
• He urged the Council to review the whole fees and charges system.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.