Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport has confirmed that Government have no plans to introduce primary legislation to reform taxi and private hire licensing law. 

Mr Shapps gave evidence before the Transport Select Committee when he confirmed that the Government will instead focus on getting its statutory guidance published and ensuring licensing authorities adhere to the guidance.  

Watch the Secretary of State for Transport address the Transport Select Committee

Mr Shapps said that there is no piece of legislation that was fit for purpose at present.  This is at odds with a statement from The Minister of State, Department for Transport George Freeman MP who last week said in Parliament “I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman is meeting the taxis Minister shortly to discuss these issues, and that, as I have said, he has raised them at a time when the Government are pulling together their final plans for the Queen’s Speech; it has been announced that it will take place on 14 October. I look forward to working with the hon. Gentleman in any future discussions.” 

Mr Freeman’s statement suggested that the Government was going to introduce legislation in the Queen’s speech.  We now know this did not happen but noteworthily nonetheless that the Government appears to be unsure what it actually is doing. 

Interestingly, Mr Shapps appeared to be a great supporter of app-based technology in the taxi and private hire sector suggesting that as far as he was concerned, this was certainly the future and one the Government is keen to support.  

He specifically said that app-based services allow users to make informed decisions about, for example, reputation of their driver before taking a ride. 

He confirmed that the Government will implement national minimum standards but at the same time made it clear that this will not be by way of new legislation.  The statutory guidance consulted on earlier this year did however not include any reference to minimum standards and it is not clear how the Government will seek to implement the minimum standards.  

 

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in taxi and private hire licensing law, appeals and defence.

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