A councillor criticised the council leader for calling for a re-think on taxi driver rules despite a ‘democratic vote’.

Last month Clr David Sheard agreed Kirklees Council’s Licensing and Safety Committee could reconsider a temporary ban for taxi drivers who racked up nine penalty points on their licence.

It came after the 14-strong Committee voted 12-2 in favour of the ban in October, which prompted much controversy among taxi drivers after it was revealed in the Examiner.

 

At Cabinet questions last night, Clr David Ridgway, who voted for the ban, asked the council leader: “Having already been subjected to a full consultation, lengthy debate in committee followed by a democratic vote, I do not understand why the Council Leader deemed it necessary to refer the taxi driver points scheme back to committee at the last Council meeting.

“I presume that Clr Sheard heard something that day that he felt called into question the process the committee had followed, rendering its decision-making unsound.

“Could the Leader make clear to me and the other committee members his reasoning for his referral back, because I am not certain why he has done it?”

Clr David Sheard, council leader, said: “I myself, not as a member on the committee, but as a magistrate for 30 years have always believed that someone has the right to appeal the penalty.

“The consequence of the committee’s decision is that people will be deprived of their livelihoods for an indeterminate time without the right to appeal.

“I thought it was legitimate to refer it back to the committee.”

Clr Sheard said he heard comments from the taxi drivers that the consultation had been flawed, plus they had asked for the council to look at two further issues the committee had not considered.

At the October meeting, councillors heard that taxi driver trade union reps had been contacted prior to the ruling and two of them responded, plus copies of the policy had been left at licensing counters.

Councillors ruled that taxi drivers with nine points on their licence should be suspended until they take a Driving Standards Agency test. This rule is now in force until the Committee makes a decision to the contrary.

However, it proved controversial, and before November’s Full Council meeting hundreds of taxi drivers rallied to call for a re-think.