Leeds Licensing Bosses Make U-Turn

8 Jul 2009

Leeds City Council Licensing Bosses Make U-Turn

After two hours of heated discussions, and representations made by GMB’s Bill Chard and Javaid Akhtar, the panel voted by a majority to change the limit to seven from eight years.

Controversy has raged over the proposals which would have meant rigorous additional tests for cars over the new limit.  GMB said the policy would lead to additional costs for drivers and too many of the test criteria were totally unnecessary.

Birmingham and Liverpool have higher age limits, and Kirklees and Calderdale have 10-year limits.  The new seven-year rule was felt to be totally unjust and unnecessary and will cause further hardship, in what is already a testing economic time, to most of the drivers across Leeds.

Bill Chard, from the GMB Leeds Private Hire Association, said: “People are not over the moon but it’s a compromise and it’s welcome. They listened to people’s voice and that voice has been channelled.”

During the meeting, Mr Chard told the licensing panel they were at risk of using “extreme measures…to combat minor faults”.  “It’s classic overregulation, like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut,” he said.

Javaid Akhtar, president of the GMB’s Leeds Private Hire Association, said: “We have mixed feelings at the moment as we wanted the proposals rejecting completely.  But this result has demonstrated that we have made the council sit up and listen to us.”