A group consisting of 22 Labour councillors have written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, asking him to reconsider enforcing the congestion charge on private hire vehicles. The news that minicab drivers would have to pay the city's congestion charge came about in a bid to slow down the ever increasing number of private hire drivers taking to the streets of London.
The charge is due to start from April 8 and a number of protests have taken place by drivers opposing the decision, with some even suggesting racial discrimination.
One firm that will see it's drivers hit hard by the charge is ride-hailing app Uber, who announced this week that they will be adding a £1 additional charge on all journeys that use roads within the congestion charge zone. Now a group of 22 Labour councillors have written to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan asking him to reconsider the introduction of this charge claiming it cost cost minicab drivers and extra £230 each month.
As reported by the East London and West Essex Guardian, the letter said: “For many drivers in our wards, these costs will be too much to bear and they will be forced out of their jobs. “Other drivers will be thrown into in-work poverty and forced to work even longer hours to get by. “As the Labour Party we must be firm that the costs of protecting our environment cannot be borne on the backs of the most vulnerable.” The councillors who have written the letter include Cllrs Daniel Stone and Eldridge Culverwell for Stroud Green, Haringey, Cllr Julie Davies for St Ann’s, Haringey and Cllr Mike Hakata for St Ann’s, Haringey. Abdurazk Hadi, chairman of the London committee of the United Private Hire Drivers branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which represents minicab drivers, also spoke out on the issue. Mr Abdurazk Hadi, chairman of the London committee of the UPHD, said: “It is clear to everyone, even Sadiq Khan’s own colleagues in the Labour party, that this policy will hurt some of London’s poorest workers, while doing nothing to resolve the city’s congestion problems." The union has also applied for a Judicial Review of Mr Khan’s decision to introduce the charge on the grounds that the Congestion Charge discriminates against people from ethnic minorities.
Taxipoint reported this week that the High Court has granted permission for the The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) to launch a Judicial Review against Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's plan to impose congestion charging on the private hire industry on the grounds that it discriminates against and breaches the human rights of a mainly BAME workforce. The IWGB have argued that the introduction of the £11.50 congestion charge on minicab drivers is a case of indirect discrimination under the Equality Act. The charge is being imposed on a workforce that is mainly BAME (94% of London's 107,000 minicab drivers are BAME according to TFL), while black cab drivers, who are mostly white, continue to be exempt. The union have also argued that the policy is also in breach of a number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights that cover discrimination, property rights, right to a family life and ability to carry out a profession. The IWGB has launched a crowdfund campaign on Crowdjustice to raise £50,000 to finance the legal challenge and assembled a legal team which includes renowned discrimination barristers Ben Collins QC,Nadia Motraghi and Tara O'Halloran of Old Square Chambers.
Image Source; Wikimedia Commons
Image Author; Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz)