5th August 2016

MPs set up specific group to support the taxi trade

You’d think that with all the commotion that’s gone on in the world of politics lately, government support for the taxi trade might’ve slipped down the list of priorities. Following the Brexit result, replacement of the Prime Minister, a massive Cabinet reshuffle and turmoil amongst the opposition, it’s great to see that a cross-party group has been created to focus purely on taxis.

The Bill that kicked things off

Back in March – before Westminster was turned on its head – the Labour MP for Ilford North, Wes Streeting, presented a Bill calling for tighter regulations across the taxi industry. Mr Streeting consulted various taxi groups and organisations, including the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) and smartphone app creator Hailo, in order to highlight areas of the industry in need of support.

In his address to the House of Commons, Streeting noted that a surge in new private hire vehicles by competitors such as Uber are causing frictions with public cabs and private minicab operators. He proposed that the government could boost support for training taxi drivers, refine requirements for obtaining a PHV licence and enforce stricter rules on taxes paid by multi-national companies operating in the UK.

Sadly, as Parliament ran out of time, the Bill wasn’t pushed any further and has been suspended indefinitely. Rather than quietly sweeping all those proposals under the rug, Mr Streeting and the LTDA continued to work together. This co-operation quickly led to the establishment of a Parliamentary group of elected MPs and members of the House of Lords all interested in supporting the taxi trade.

The new cross-party group

The LTDA reports that the group – an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) – came together on 4th July with the overall intention of asserting the importance of their proposed points to the present government led by Theresa May. An APPG is essentially an informal collective of people from both Houses of Parliament across all political parties, united by a common interest; in this case, the taxi industry.

Nineteen members make up the group with Wes Streeting in the role of Chairman. The group is aiming to help motivate support for the industry amongst other Westminster colleagues, hopefully pushing for further debates about issues affecting taxi drivers and their trade. They’ll also be in regular consultations with the likes of the LTDA, Hailo and the London Taxi Company to keep on top of changing trends and new demands.

MPs and Lords are currently away from Parliament for summer recess, resuming their daily activities from the beginning of September. Only then will we start to get some indication of what the taxi-centric APPG will hope to achieve. It’s likely the group will focus on points raised by Mr Streeting’s original Bill to make life easier for taxi drivers, operators and even customers.

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