Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson meets Merseyside taxi dri

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson with some of the taxi drivers from Merseyside who lobbied MPs in Parliament about plans to deregulate taxis.

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson met with Merseyside taxi drivers in Parliament who are warning about the dangers of deregulation.
The Law Commission is recommending the government to deregulate the taxi industry.
Taxi drivers are worried that deregulation will affect safety as well as hitting the prosperity of taxi drivers and their families.
Bill met with taxi drivers from throughout Merseyside in Parliament, including Sefton Labour Councillor and fully licensed driver Cllr Tony Carr.
Bill said: "This is a big issue, not just in Sefton Central, but throughout Merseyside and the rest of the country.
"The taxi drivers warn that deregulation will force many drivers off the road, while there are serious safety concerns about the proposals through a relaxation of the vetting of drivers and their vehicles.
"In those places where regulation has been removed, I have seen evidence that there has been a cut in standards because of the increased competition. Prices have gone up and drivers have had to work long hours to earn a living, which is not a safe situation for them or for passengers. Vehicle maintenance has declined and there has been less scrutiny of drivers applying for a licence."
Bill said he wanted the government to consider any changes very carefully and to make sure they were fully aware of the impact on taxi drivers and their families as well as on the travelling public.
Bill said: "Because they are regulated, licensed taxis have to follow strict rules which are designed to improve safety and accessibility. Safety must come first and the government should also consider the impact of changes on drivers and on their ability to make a living and to look after their families.
"Many licensed taxi owners have invested in their cabs to convert them so they are accessible for use by wheelchair users. Deregulation would remove the need for these conversions to be made, which could make it much harder for disabled people to travel. Both licensed taxi drivers and private hire drivers have to pass a knowledge test and this is one of a number of guarantees of high standards in the industry which could be at risk if the changes went through.
"These are just a few of the concerns which the taxi drivers have in relation to deregulation and which I am in the process of taking up in parliament." 

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