Libs Dems blast Wolverhampton City Council for handing out taxi licences 'like sweets' to thousands of people not resident in the city

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The shocking data released to the party under the Freedom of Information Act has led the party to blast Labour-run Wolverhampton City Council for treating the taxi licence applications as a 'big cash cow'.

More than 4168 out of area private hire licences by Wolverhampton council were issued by 2017 – up from just 60 in 2013.

In comparison, in 2017, only 927 licences were issued to drivers who live in the city.

The authority made £1.29 million from taxi licensing in 2016/17.

 But many of the thousands of drivers will not even visit the city as they live and work elsewhere, including some who work as far away as Manchester, London or even Southampton.

Wolverhampton taxi drivers have said that the local authority is too lenient on tests for new drivers and too many licences are being given out.

Their criticism chimes with other local authorities, Coventry licensing committee member Damian Gannon said recently: [Wolverhampton City Council] "don’t give a damn about how it makes the taxi trade unaccountable to Coventry residents."

These figures are totally out of proportion for Hackney Carriage licences; in 2013 the council issued 144 licences to people within the city and 20 outside. In 2017, 155 licences were given to people resident within Wolverhampton and just 26 outside.

Commenting, local Liberal Democrat campaigner Ian Jenkins said:

"The council have turned a vital safety check into a big cash cow. The council are handing out licences like sweets and damn the consequences. 

"Some people in surrounding areas will want to apply for a city licence, that is understandable, but this level of applications is worrying. The council need to look at this again urgently.

"We need to support the cab trade in the city and not turn ourselves into a taxi version of Gretna Green. 

"It just seems like the budget line comes first above everything, even safety and that should worry anyone who gets in a cab late at night."

Photo: Copyright Elliot Brown - Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

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