Concerns over taxi changes

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Kirklees councillors have expressed “deep concerns” about a proposed new law that could allow anyone to drive in a taxi without background checks.

The law, which is currently going through parliament, aims to allow anyone with a driving licence to operate a private hire vehicle when it is “off duty”.

This has prompted concerns that “pirate” cabbies could operate around Kirklees and endanger the safety of service users.

Coun Martyn Bolt said: “As a parent I would be deeply concerned if one of my children was coming out of a nightclub in Batley and getting into a hire vehicle that any Tom, Dick or Harry could be driving.

“It seems to be the craze of de-regulating everything at the moment, but where do you stop? Should anybody be able to drive a police car?”

Baroness Kath Pinnock begins sitting in the House of Lords on October 27, and will begin voting on laws.

She said: “I don’t know the timetable for when this will go to the Lords, but I do share Coun Bolt’s concerns.

“I will be having a meeting with some of the Lords in the coming weeks and I will express the concerns of the people of Kirklees about this law.”

Head of the Kirklees Taxi and Hackney Carriage Association Akooji Badat said: “There are mixed feelings about this law among taxi drivers,

“On the one hand, times are hard money-wise, so if you are able to only have one car in a family, that your wife can drive too, it would help us and make sense.

“But then again, it could be unsafe for people who were getting taxis late at night from outside nightclubs.”