Pauline Latham OBE MP has spoken out in the House of Commons on a significant loophole in the taxi licensing process which does not have a mechanism to check if drivers are being honest in their applications for a taxi licence.
In a Question session to the Leader of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Mrs Latham asked for a statement by the Department for Transport on the “possibility of a register of taxi drivers” so councils can check applicants to see if they have had a licence refused or revoked by another Council Authority.
The present system obliges applications to disclose if they have had a licence refused or revoked but there is no way of telling if the applicant is telling the truth. The loophole has meant that a driver who has had a licence revoked in one Authority for asking out young girls who used his taxi, an offence for which would not show up on Police records, was successful in getting a new licence in a neighbouring Authority.
In his reply Chris Grayling agreed it was a “very real problem” that had been identified and said he would make sure the Secretary of State for Transport is fully briefed on the issue before his next appearance in the House of Commons.
Pauline Latham OBE MP said: “This loophole is potentially very serious as is shown in the case of a driver who had his licence revoked being able to get another one because there is no mechanism to check the record of a driver. I am grateful for the vigilance of Councillor Jane Orton, from Amber Valley Borough Council, in identifying the problem and bringing it to my attention. I hope the Department of Transport will look seriously and report back to the House of Commons on the possibility of creating a national register of taxi drivers so Authorities can be sure the applicants are telling the truth about their history”.