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UBER FILES: Taxi industry to hold those involved in Uber scandal ‘accountable for their actions’

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

Taxi industry representatives have said they will try to hold those involved in the Uber Files scandal ‘accountable for their actions’ as more details around lobbying and regulation in the capital emerge.

The comments come after more than 124,000 confidential Uber documents were leaked to the Guardian and other news outlets including BBC Panorama, which has demonstrated the full extent of Uber’s global lobbying powers and more locally its efforts to twist regulation in London.

The documents confirmed many of the things noted in the taxi trade about its aggressive tactics, since it first entered the market over a decade ago.

The leaked files show how the company exerted influence over UK government ministers and advisers, including George Osborne, Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock, in off the book meetings, and hired close personal friends like Rachel Whetstone and Lynton Crosby to help them gain access to the top levels of the Cameron Government, ultimately preventing the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, from clamping down on Uber and its damaging operating model.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said: “There are now calls for TfL to look again at Uber's fitness to be licensed in London, as at least one of the executives named in the files is still working for the company. This could be in breach of Uber London Limited's (ULL) licensing conditions, which explicitly state that it will not employ someone who has sought to "interfere with or evade regulatory enforcement." This is definitely something we will explore further and raise with TfL.

“None of this will change what's happened and the difficult period the trade went through and perhaps the most shocking part about all of this is that this kind of thing was able to go on for so long, so openly, with nothing being done and no consequences for anyone involved.

“We can't change the past, but we will try to make sure that policy makers, especially those still in positions of power are held accountable for their actions. We will be calling on TfL and the government to guarantee that the safety of the public and people's livelihoods are never compromised and put in jeopardy in such an underhand and unfair way again. We will also be asking the relevant authorities in Parliament to look into the matter and the conduct of the then ministers referenced who are still MPs.”

Taxi drivers are keen to highlight that they have been the ‘injured party’ as a result of the lobbying.

Trevor Merrells, United Cabbies Group (UCG) General Secretary, said on social media: “Last night’s Panorama didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know. We’re the injured party here, our hard earned working practices.

“The Uber driver recounting driving down Baker St and getting a ping, akin to driving down Baker Street and getting hailed, oh that’s right it’s an E-Hail.”


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