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UBER FILES: ‘We have been telling people this was happening for years’ says taxi trade

On the back of the damning Uber Files scandal, a frustrated taxi industry has come out and said “we have been telling people this was happening in London for years”.

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 and 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.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) have now questioned once again whether the company is suitable to be licensed in London and elsewhere in the UK.

Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, said via LTDA’s website: “The Uber files have demonstrated the lengths that the Company went to protect its damaging, and in many cases illegal, business model. It’s clear from the documents that Uber executives believed that they could make up their own rules, do as they pleased and use their friends in high places to help them get away with it. “We have been telling people this was happening in London for years. It was an open secret how much power and influence the company was able to exert. Sadly, nothing was ever done to curtail or even question this relentless lobbying and undue influence over policymakers, which undoubtedly prevented Uber from being properly regulated and compromised the safety of the travelling public. “The people at the top may have changed, but we have no doubt that this culture remains. Some of the executives in question still work for Uber and we would argue that this brings into question the Company’s suitability to be licensed in London and elsewhere. TfL along with regulators and governments across Europe must ensure that Uber and anyone else trying to emulate its so-called disruptive business model, plays by the same rules as everyone else, regardless of who they know or hire to do their bidding for them.”


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