Letter from Gerry O’Leary.
All the problems we face, can be solved by TfL and the enforcement authorities using the existing legislation – but only if they wish to do so.
Spartacus hit the nail on the head when he said “it’s my view that they are implementing national ‘standards’ for PH as proposed by the Law Commission by stealth”
Among the ‘standards’ is the unlawful allowing of plying for hire by licensed private hire vehicles.
In 2010, Manchester Airport told a Commons committee that it had introduced a second on-demand taxi service – something which it could not lawfully do because in Greater Manchester only hackney carriages can ply for hire at airports or car parks.
Not only did the Licensing Authority (Manchester City Council) fail to enforce the law, but it advised the airport on measures it could take to avoid the attentions of MCC enforcement officers.
Manchester City Council gets about £12m a year in dividends from its stake in the airport, which in turn benefits from its percentage cut from the takings of its chosen private hire operator. Talk about having a dog in the race!
To make matters worse, the council has gone further by allowing chosen private hire firms to ply for hire in car parks at pop concerts.
It is dangerous nonsense because it removes from the licensing authority the power to act against criminals and predators who use their private hire licences to prey on victims elsewhere in the city.
The rule of law, which used to protect the public against arbitrary decision-making by bureaucrats, has been eroded to the point where a coach and horses has been ridden over the law – by bureaucrats who have been entrusted to uphold that law.
The government would prefer not to touch this matter with a bargepole and neither would local politicians because the neoconservative ideology of the free market has taken such a grip of politicians that they reject any regulation as “red tape” that must be removed by hook or by crook, even if that means acting unlawfully.