Suspended, but not scrapped
Transport for London has suspended the proposed new minicab English language tests until September 2020.
After nearly 3 years of campaigning on English Language Requirements for drivers in London, the LPHCA announced that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, alongside TfL Taxi & Private Hire had heeded to the advice that the LPHCA and other trade organisations sent to the Mayor in January 2019.
Following Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq’s ‘Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Licensing: Steps Towards A Safer & More Robust System’ recommendations on National English Language Requirements and the government’s subsequent agreement, the LPHCA recommended to the Mayor that the 30th April 2019 deadline be suspended until a national standard is agreed.
Whilst this is not a total suspension, Chairman Steve Wright MBE has said: “The 18-month extension will give government, the industry, regulators and other stakeholders, the opportunity, to set out and agree realistic English Language Requirements for PHV & Taxi drivers nationally going forward.” Mr Wright went on to say, “We are grateful that Mayor Khan and TfL TPH, have listened and we are extremely appreciative of the cross-party political support we have received from London Assembly Members, in particular Conservative Assembly Member Gareth Bacon, who brokered ‘politically neutral’ talks between the Mayor and Trade Representatives.” Mr Wright continued “I wish to thank Eddie Townson, Jimmy Lazarou, Greg Mendoza and Steve Garelick for the meetings they attended with us and the Mayor at City Hall. I would also like to thank LPHCA Members and others who have given via contributions to our fighting fund, which supports the work we do. Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who attended the dignified protest we organised at City Hall back in December 2016 when this campaign begun.”
Steve Garelick, GMB Regional Officer said: “This is a victory for common sense and I hope that an appropriate test that can ensure public safety and a good service will come as a result of the consultation “GMB of course supports thorough testing to make sure that private hire in London is pre-eminent worldwide.”