Only one objection to council’s proposals to raise renewal fee by £50 for East Cambs taxi drivers

Taxi drivers could be made to wear business clothing under new rules coming into force on New Year's

Taxi drivers could be made to wear business clothing under new rules coming into force on New Year's Day. - Credit: Archant

Only one objection was put forward by a taxi drivers – out of a possible 200 who hold licences -to raise the driver renewal fee by £50 to £150, East Cambs councillors will be told.

The council’s licensing committee is expected to approve the increase after putting out a range of proposals for public consultation.

When the increase was proposed in October, the senior licensing officer said that whilst it was proposed to increase the driver renewal fee from £100 to £150, the vehicle licence fees had a very small increase proposed.

“As a result the overall increase to a licence holder with a driver and vehicle licence would be no more than last year, but reflected the significantly higher level of resources spent in administering driver licences compared to vehicle licences,” he told the committee.

Councillor Elaine Griffin-Singh, committee chairman, acknowledged that this appeared to be a reasonable and fair approach, particularly in the light of the continued level of demand in terms of applications.

This week’s committee will be told that during the consultation period one objection was received and that pointed out that costs were rising for taxi drivers whilst income was diminishing.

However the committee was told that the proposed fees are part of the council’s undertaking (agreed in 2015) to ensure that the licensing service reduces the budget deficit and becomes cost neutral over a five year period.

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“No provision was built into this process to recover previous year’s deficits; such was the extent of the deficit in those years,” says a report to councillors.

Councillors were told that that if they rejected the increases it would benefit the taxi trade but will result in the council failing in its attempts to reduce the licensing income deficit

If the rises were deferred this would have the same outcome.

“Members may approve the fees, as per the officers’ recommendation – this will not benefit the trade, but it will enable the council to reduce the taxi licensing budget deficit, and reduce the burden on the general taxpayer,” the report noted.

Councillors were advised that “officer time has been required to deal with the consultation exercise, and member time has been required to consider the comments received”.