Taxi drivers, operators and councils should not foot the bill for new statutory guidance says union

Taxi drivers, operators and councils should not foot the bill for new statutory government guidance says union.

The GMB, a union for taxi and private hire drivers, says drivers and local authorities, currently “on their knees” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, requires government support to implement any new legislation.

There were also accusations from the driver representatives that Ministers were simply “passing the buck” onto local authorities who will have the final say on whether to introduce CCTV in taxis and private hire vehicles (PHV).

The comments come after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced yesterday new licensing standards to improve passenger safety in taxis and PHVs.

Criminal record checks for drivers every 6 months formed a key part of the standards, as did safeguarding training to help drivers identify and respond to passengers that may be being abused or exploited. A recommendation for licensing authorities to consider whether the use of CCTV would be beneficial or proportionate in their areas was also included, which sets out that potential privacy issues must be taken into account.

Steve Garelick, GMB Regional Organiser, said: "GMB supports any measure that will increase the safety of private hire drivers and the general public.

"But this legislation feels rushed, ill-timed and leaving it to local authorities to decide whether to use CCTV smacks of passing the buck.

"Ministers should provide clear, nationwide rules - along with funding necessary to implement the safety measures.

"Drivers, business owners and councils are on their knees in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic and need support to make implement these changes."

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