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Taxi and private hire licensing fee hike faces opposition in Erewash

Erewash Borough Council's Licensing and Public Protection Committee are set to meet on 10 May to review proposed increases in taxi licensing fees for drivers, vehicles, and private hire operators.

The review stemmed from a report by the Director of Environmental and Community Services, which proposed new fees for the financial year 2024/25.

The Council had not reviewed its taxi fees since 2015. The new proposed increases reflect a thorough review of reasonable administration costs and an inflationary uplift. The changes, scheduled to commence on 11 May 2024, cover both hackney carriage and private hire licensing. The proposed adjustments, detailed in Table One of the report, include substantial increases, such as the Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence for three years rising from £203 to £245.

The council emphasised that the proposed fees were based on a detailed costing exercise, which ensured that they aligned with the requirements of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. This law permits the council to set fees for hackney carriage and private hire drivers, vehicles, and private hire operators, provided that the fees cover reasonable costs and do not generate additional income.

The proposed fee increases attracted objections from local taxi operators. These objections raised concerns about the impact of inflation, fuel costs, and uncertainty regarding forthcoming vehicle regulations. One objection stated, "I am objecting to increase in licensing fees as proposed by the council. My reasons are because of inflation. Interest rates have increased as well as fuel prices too have increased". Another objection highlighted dissatisfaction with pending vehicle regulations, stating, "It's like you're looking out for yourselves and not looking out for us".

In response, the council pointed out that inflation had declined since peaking at 11.1% in October 2022, and that fuel prices had stabilised or decreased over the past three years. The council further noted that taxi fare rates had been increased in 2022 to offset some of the industry's inflationary pressures.

The council operates under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which prescribes the licensing fees for hackney carriages, private hire vehicles, and private hire operators. The law requires that fees reflect actual costs and should not serve as a source of additional income for the council. The council also noted that a further review of taxi licensing policy, including vehicle regulations, would be considered at the next committee meeting.

The Licensing and Public Protection Committee now faces three options: approve the proposed fees, modify them, or reject the proposals altogether.


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