A man who had his private hire driver's licence revoked by St Helens Council over safeguarding concerns has been seen working in the borough under another licensing authority's badge, sparking calls for the government to end cross-border hiring.
The revelation was made during a full council meeting which took place on Wednesday.
Labour’s David Banks, Chairman of St Helens Council’s licensing and environmental protection committee, brought a motion to council calling on the government to amend legislation to stop the practice of taxi drivers operating ‘cross-border’, which has become an issue since the introduction of the Deregulation Act in 2015.
The motion by Councillor Banks read:
'Prior to the introduction of the Deregulation Act in 2015, local councils had full control over the licensing of taxi drivers who worked in their area.
'The Act legitimised ‘cross border hiring’ which has been instrumental in removing the ability to conduct enforcement action in relation to vehicles and drivers working in this area, who have not been licensed in St Helens.
'In St Helens we have extremely high standards which those licensed with us must meet and this in turn creates public confidence in our drivers who go through these rigorous procedures.
'As these same rigorous licensing standards cannot be guaranteed in every authority who issues licenses, this has led to this council having serious concerns for the safeguarding of our public.
'Therefore this Council calls on Government to amend legislation licensing the operation of private vehicles to allow local authorities greater control of the private hire operators and drivers providing services within their area and to end the lottery of cross border bookings.
'In addition this Council has committed to making the fullest use of its powers to ensure, that the drivers and operators of private hire vehicles in the Borough will continue to be subject to the highest standards, they will receive all appropriate training in safeguarding and development and be supported in every way to keep our commitment to ensuring the very best standards of service and safeguarding of the public.
'We will also work with our partners within the Liverpool City Region to ensure the highest standards throughout our region.'
Image credit: Pixabay