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Taxis (Liverpool)

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

The humble petition of Mr. Alan Watterson, of 81 Elm Vale Liverpool, the residents and taxi drivers of Wavertree Constituency and surrounding area.

Sheweth, that the livelihoods of the legitimate taxi and private hire trade in Liverpool are severely affected by the cross border hiring of vehicles licensed in neighbouring boroughs; also sheweth that the safety and well-being of the taxi-using public is put at risk by the use of such un-licensed vehicles as their insurance is nullified.

Wherefore your petitioners pray that your Honourable House urges the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to consider amending the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to require taxis and private hire vehicles to return to the licensing area when they have completed a hiring that terminates outside of that area.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc—[Presented by Jane Kennedy, Official Report, 14 July 2009; Vol. 496, c. 1P .]

[P000395]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport, received 3 September:

Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) are licensed in provincial areas of England and Wales under Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. Drivers, vehicles and operators (that is, those who arrange the hirings) must all be licensed separately. They are licensed by district/borough councils or unitary authorities and the legislation terms the area within which a licensing authority governs PHV activities a “controlled district”.

However, travel patterns are, of course, not limited by local authority boundaries and it is inevitable that passengers’ requirements will involve journeys across district boundaries. Case law has established that the legislation allows a licensed PHV operator to arrange a hiring from anywhere to anywhere in the country so long as he uses for that hiring a vehicle and a driver licensed by the same licensing authority as granted his operator’s licence.

The construction of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 does not readily lend itself to the insertion of a simple alteration of the type envisaged by the petitioners. The principles governing cross-border hirings mentioned above arise from the interaction between sections 46(1), 75(2) and 80(2) of the 1976 Act. Any change to the cross-border hiring principles would necessitate much wider consideration of the Act itself.

While I recognise that the issue of cross border hirings is ripe for review, I am strongly of the view that any consideration of this particular element of the law should be undertaken as part of a wider review of taxi and PHV licensing law.

However, I am afraid that I cannot give any indication of when we might be in a position to undertake a full review of taxi and PHV legislation; this would depend on wider Departmental and Parliamentary resource and timing considerations.