New Taxi Bill Published – but what now?
The Law Commission has finally published its long awaited review of taxi and private hire legislation as well as a Draft bill.
The question however is what will become of the new Bill. The Government has already made clear that there will not be time to take forward a dedicated Taxi Bill before the next General Election.
This was confirmed by Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Transport, on 13 May 2014 when he said, “…the Law Commission will later this month present the government with both a comprehensive review of taxi and private hire legislation as well as a draft bill.
However, the government has no plans to introduce a dedicated taxi bill in the final Parliamentary session. Instead, government will consider the detailed findings of, and recommendations made, by the Law Commission before setting out our thinking on each in due course.”
Where does this leave any potential for much needed taxi/PH law reform?
What is clear is that, if the Government were to take a Bill forward, it is not going to be for at least 18 to 24 months before any Bill is introduced given then the next general election is still 12 months away.
There may also be a change of Government after the next general election which may mean further delays.
Notwithstanding the above, there is widespread agreement that taxi legislation is woefully out of date and in serious need of reform. The reforms set out in the Deregulation Bill do not, by any means, go far enough to address the more fundamental problems with the current licensing system.
It is therefore our prediction that, regardless of who is in Government next year, there will be some form of new Bill taken forward.