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24 April 2017

WE MUST LEARN FROM HISTORY ... THATS WHAT ITS FOR ... By Harry Wall


Those of you long enough in the tooth may remember a film years ago called The Knowledge written by Jack Rosenthal.

It followed the path of Mick Ford's character doing the K and gave the most true to life portrayal of that agony you'll ever likely to see, complete with an examiner nicknamed the Vampire, who to this day I'm convinced Mr Orme modeled himself on. 

There's a line in that film that's stayed with me all these years, "We live, we never bloody learn".
And we haven't.

We've lived with the Uber virus for 5 years now. We know exactly what it's business model is, we know how it's implemented and we know how it's become part of the social fabric of London. It's been in the national press and it's quite clear those in high office couldn't give a toss.

What have we done in response?
Very little.

Up until last month, although we all knew the truth, nothing was getting in the papers and things were looking grim. All of a sudden, up pops the Daily Mail with a story all about the corruption we've been victim of and a light appeared at the end of that very long, dark tunnel. 

But instead of an all out, guns blazing charge on Whitehall with demands of public inquiries, heads rolling and vindication at last, all we've seen is one demo in Whitehall with a letter asking for an inquiry.

The ITA staged a foot demo but that's unofficial as opposed to an org organised one.

There's another mass lobby planned for Wednesday to demand an inquiry now, but only because a general election has been called and naturally all media attention will be focused on that. 

I understand a snap election can't be predicted, neither can the weather but if you planned a barbecue precautions would be put in place in case it pisses down with rain on the day. Contingency plans must be in place especially in a situation like ours which is so fluid otherwise we gain no traction where we should.

I believe the orgs should have met the day that story went to print and planned a response not seen before and we should have delivered it at the first opportunity, not over a week later. 

An immediate suspension of Uber's license should've been demanded along with resignations from Daniels. Blake and Chapman and that's just for starters.

We should've gone for the jugular every single day with continued, relentless pressure in every corner of the capital. We were in a position of strength then, were not so much now.

Now, we have a young man with a young family who's been in the trade for 4 years leaving because it's become unviable to the point he can't do it anymore, it's just not paying. 

What a waste, we've all seen the sign in his rear window, so sad and such shame on us for allowing it to happen.

We have drivers on anti-depressants, most of us are at our wits end with worry about our future, stories of drivers having meltdowns have become commonplace and I'm convinced some poor soul will succeed in taking his own life if we don't act in a more decisive manner. I read a thread on Twitter recently and the state some drivers are in is very worrying indeed.

 As I keep saying we need to take charge and be proactive instead of reactive, dictate events ourselves for a change, mould the future ourselves and set the stage for the fight of our lives. 

In my opinion Uber is undoubtedly here to stay, it's worth too much money and has become engrained in daily life as the government has seen to it. But that doesn't mean we can't make them pay for it. 

All this bollocks about free markets makes my blood boil as the markets are not free if our families are paying the cost, and they are along with our failing health. The reasons I'm so convinced about Uber staying are quite simple, TFL have come up with a new license system where by they will charge Uber £2.4m for a 5 year operators license starting asap. Add to that Khans reluctance to jeopardise losing all those thousands of votes if he banned them, plus their entrance into the NHS, as far as I'm concerned that license is nailed on.

I wrote a few months ago that Uber getting a foot in the NHS door, was a guaranteed second license... but I was told I was talking nonsense. 


'Country Boy' GarRETT RUSSELL Emmerson being made chief executive of London Ambulance has sealed the deal for me. We all thought he was made the sacrificial lamb but how wrong we were!

To add more credence, he takes up his new role on the 30th May which is the same day Uber receive license number 2.

Talking nonsense was I ?

He's now Uber's inside man and it won't be long before we see Uber written on the side of ambulances just like G4S in Kent.

I'll make another prediction, Hendy will return to our nightmare soon and sling us off the station ranks, putting them up for tender. Soon you'll see ranks for Addison Lee next to Uber ranks. Our ranks will be out by the tradesmen's just like during the Olympics.

"We live, but we never bloody learn".

The government have previous here, first it was the miners followed by the printers. 

Their are some similarities between us and the miners in that a bond developed between a section of the miners as opposed to a large number of scabs who crossed the picket lines regularly which could be likened to those rat cab drivers who willingly choose to work during demos knowing full well their actions counter those of us who are actively trying to save their jobs as well as our own. 

Their was also a women's movement not dissimilar from our own Save Taxi girls who worked tirelessly to help the menfolk in the struggle.

Thatcher's victory was achieved through a plan hatched some years before by right wing Tory MP Nichols Ridley who was a founder member of The Selsdon Group of free market conservatives. It was drawn up in the aftermath of the Heath government being brought down by the 1974 coal strike. 

It was called the Ridley Plan and was design to defeat a major strike by a nationalised industry. It was leaked and published by the Economist in 1978 but the unions, including the NUM showed no interest in it and made no attempt to adapt in order to avoid future defeat which was a mistake they paid dearly for.

Three of the points from the plan could be attributed to Cameron's involvement with Uber.

1, "Coal stocks should be built up at power stations" or issue as many PH drivers as possible ready to take over from Cab drivers.

2, "Plans should be made to import coal from non-union foreign ports" or import foreign non-union labour.

3, "Non-union lorry drivers to be recruited by haulage companies" or ignorant non-union minicab drivers to be recruited by Uber London.

This may all be nonsense but I see a recurring Tory pattern here. In order to fight these slags we have to understand there thought process. 

All they're interested in is our demise regardless of the cost, human or otherwise. They hold all the cards including the legal ones, they control the media, the police, the public perception of us which they control through the media along with there ultimate trump card, our license. 

Add to that a Labour Mayor with his own agenda that reflects the Tory aim and they've got it made except for one thing, nasty bastards like us with an attitude of nothing to lose.

I think the time is coming when orgs become irrelevant which will upset the apple cart because TFL and the government rely on them to keep order in my opinion, mainly due to the fact an org can be used to interact with a trade as opposed to individuals. 

That irrelevance will happen eventually because they haven't evolved as they should have. I don't think they've listened enough, done enough or been aggressive enough. 

I was interviewed on LTR in December and I made that plain, I was on LTR in January at Peak Friens with the org leaders and I asked why a strategy or plan hadn't been formed and I was dismissed as a nuisance. 

I said that, as a trade we should have began this year in the most aggressive way possible and that it was vital we did so but it fell on deaf ears. I don't profess to have all the answers but as already stated Ive seen an obvious trend that should have been addressed long before now that's resulted in the sorry state we're in. 

The Daily Mail stories are obviously a welcome sight and, as previously stated, a job very well done by those responsible in LCDC as well as Guy Adams. 

However, they will only benefit us if we add our voices and weight to them. We can't just hope someone, somewhere takes up the mantle for us. 

We've tried that on many occasions and been shafted, inquiries have been called and that's only right but we must push the issue daily in pursuit of them being authorised. 

We can't just hope they're granted because it won't happen, it's the political way to sweep shit under the carpet and we can't let that happen with this, the goal is too precious.

Three dates in May need to be made to count. 18th, 23rd and the 30th. 

The first is Mayors question time at City Hall, the second is a national day of action called Lockdown London arranged by the GMB and the third is Uber license renewal day. 

Question time at City Hall must leave Khan in no doubt he's in trouble when he grants that license with us making his life as miserable as he's allowed ours to become. 

GMBs day of action will also be held all over the country and is designed to pressure authorities into giving Taxi/PH the level playing field we all deserve and I would urge everyone to take part, as we no longer have the luxury of reliance on our own ranks to stand firm with us anymore and our trade orgs haven't been able to arrange a national action so why not. 

The third is self explanatory and I consider that one to be the biggie, that's the one that all orgs need to concentrate on and I really hope they've got something planned that drives home a real statement of intent.

Rumblings are already in place for driver led action which I will be only too happy to take part in soon and it's purely because patience has run out. 

May will be an important and defining month for all of us and unfortunately it's come at a time when drivers are unconcerned with the consequences of there actions which is a fault I lay firmly at all the orgs doors for reasons already outlined. 

The anger and fury has reached a point now where it's beyond fever pitch, it has a real tangible feel about it but needs to be harnessed properly to avoid unnecessary incidents.

This could be done if the orgs step up and dispense with procedure, protocol and being nice. (Some may say they have already but I'm not convinced). 

Change from being reactive to being proactive and remove some of the fear we all have for the future. Make a stand that can't be misconstrued, change the situation from being one of us asking for meetings to one of them begging us for them.

If the orgs can't do it, we have to do it ourselves.

Our future and that of our families is in our hands and if need be we must take charge. Please don't let this opportunity pass us by, we won't get another one, EVER.

WE MUST LEARN FROM HISTORY, THATS WHAT ITS FOR!!
I don't want to see scenes from the miners strike happening here but I have visions of it happening if we're not careful. I here drivers talking about having nothing to lose and that's worrying. 
I'm reminded of that line in the film:

"WE LIVE, WE NEVER BLOODY LEARN!"

Be lucky. 

Harry.


Sent from my iPhone



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21 April 2017

We've Said It Before And We'll Say It Again, Follow The Money...Did You Really Think TfL Wouldn't Relicense Uber.

Uber could pay up to £2.1 million for a five-year licence under proposed changes to minicab fees announced by Transport for London today. 

The car hire app giant, which has around 30,000 drivers in the capital, faces the higher fee to reflect the transport body’s increased licensing and enforcement costs.

A new five-tier structure, which will apply to all minicab firms, will help fund the 250 extra compliance officers being hired to check insurance and other paperwork in a bid to raise industry standards.

TfL, which launched a consultation into the fees today, said the charges would make sure operators paid according to the resources required to regulate their operations. 

It would mean that the smallest minicab firms, those with fewer than 10 vehicles, pay £2,500 for a five-year licence. Currently those with more than two cars pay £2,826 regardless of the size of their fleet. 

Uber and Addison Lee, which has almost 5,000 drivers, would pay £166,000 for a five-year licence, plus £68 for every vehicle registered.

In both cases the number of vehicles is thought to be lower than the number of drivers in operation.

The capital’s minicab industry has grown dramatically from 65,000 licensed drivers in 2013/14 to more than 117,000 today. The number of vehicles has increased from 50,000 to 87,000 over the same period. 

TfL estimates that its enforcement costs alone over the next five years will reach £30 million, up from a previous estimate of £4 million. 

The total projected cost for licensing, enforcement and compliance — to crack down on illegal and dangerous activity — for taxis and minicabs over five years is £209 million. TfL’s Helen Chapman said: “The operator fees system is no longer fit for purpose.”



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An Urgent Call For A Public Inquiry Into TfL

On Friday 6th January 2017, a meeting took place with the Prime Minister Theresa May, asking for a public inquiry into Transport for London (TfL). With the help of the Taxi trade organisations, Mrs May was handed documents to back up the London Taxi drivers request.

As London Taxi drivers, we need to put pressure on the Prime Minister to grant a full public inquiry into TfL. You can help by completing a short form to send this pre-written and personalised email to your local MP. This has been written from your perspective as a London Taxi driver on how you have been affected by the governments and TfL's malfeasance.

In addition to this, we would highly recommend you request a visit to their constituents surgery to personally ask for assistance.

Please insert your Post Code below to help us find your local Constituency and MP.

Click on link below 

http://pointcab.co.uk/





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Now growing Uber scandal engulfs another minister
They had been posed by Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, a trade union which represents the capital’s 24,000 traditional black cab drivers. 

And they concerned a thorny topic: the Tory minister’s relationship with Californian-based internet firm Uber.

The controversial, tax-dodging Silicon Valley company — which runs a smartphone app that allows users to summon cheap minicabs — is a serious threat to the livelihoods of McNamara’s highly-trained and regulated members.

Uber launched in the UK in 2012. Its enormous financial muscle (investors subsidise annual losses of around £2 billion), clever tax arrangements (it pays no VAT and most UK earnings are funnelled to Bermuda via Holland), and cavalier approach to regulation and employment law allow it to dramatically undercut its old-fashioned rivals.

Many black cabbies, whose income has declined by around 25 per cent as a result, were — and still are — therefore being forced off the road.

The fact is that tens of thousands of Uber cars now operate in London and about 30 other UK cities and towns. They add to pollution, and make traffic congestion worse.

There are also growing concerns about passenger safety. At one point, complaints of rape and sexual assault against Uber drivers were made in London at a rate of roughly one every 11 days.


The Mail revealed last month that Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and several other Cabinet ministers led by Downing Street aide Daniel Korski, lobbied Boris Johnson on behalf of Uber
Against this already troubling background, a series of extraordinary revelations in the Mail have in recent weeks thrown the firm to the centre of an extraordinary political scandal.

It dates back to late 2015, when, we have disclosed, senior figures in David Cameron’s government decided to secretly intervene to persuade the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to abandon proposed new regulations that would curb Uber’s growth in the capital.

As the Mail originally revealed last month, Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and several other Cabinet ministers, along with their publicly funded staff, led by a Downing Street aide called Daniel Korski, launched a campaign to aggressively lobby fellow Tory Johnson on behalf of the tax-dodging firm.

During this period, between September 2015 and January 2016, the Mayor was considering measures to curtail Uber’s growing dominance of the London taxi market.


Uber PR chief Rachel Whetstone, 49, one of David Cameron and George Osborne's closest friends, quit her role at the private hire company when the scandal reached a rolling boil
These included making cab drivers pass an English language test (many Uber drivers are foreign-born), capping the number of licences available, and requiring minicab firms to wait five minutes between accepting a booking and picking up a customer (Uber prides itself on fulfilling orders in an average of three).

But after intensive badgering by Cameron, Osborne and No 10 officials, plus several other loyal ministers, Johnson caved in, and dropped all significant new rules.

Uber’s revenues soared. Since at the time it employed Rachel Whetstone, one of PM’s and his Chancellor’s closest friends, as its most senior UK lobbyist, this affair seems to many in Whitehall to raise serious questions about cronyism and corruption.

Last week, as the scandal reached a rolling boil, Whetstone — who’d known Cameron for 25 years and was the godmother of his late son Ivan — announced she’d suddenly quit Uber.

Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner announced an investigation into suspicions — again revealed by the Mail — that No 10 officials had breached the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, in an attempt to keep their lobbying of Johnson secret.

They are accused of deliberately hiding emails that showed how Korski had corresponded with the Mayor’s Transport for London quango about Uber. Deliberately destroying, hiding or altering requested information is a criminal offence under the FOI act.

We shall return to this matter later. But first, back to the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association. For it has unearthed evidence that it claims shows a very similar sort of FOI cover-up involving staff working for Sajid Javid, who (unlike Osborne and Cameron) remains a Cabinet Minister.

This example stretches back to April 2016, when cabbies heard two intriguing rumours concerning the involvement of the then Business Secretary, now Communities Secretary, in this secret, and ethically dubious, lobbying campaign.

One suggested Javid had helped organise a meeting in Westminster just before Christmas 2015, at which senior Tories ordered Boris Johnson to lay off Uber. Several other Cabinet ministers, special advisers and Downing Street staff were said to be present.


An email suggests Javid helped organise a meeting in Westminster just before Christmas 2015, when senior Tories told Boris Johnson to lay off Uber
The other rumour was that Javid’s staff at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills had, in October 2015, lobbied their opposite numbers at the Competition and Markets Authority — a regulator charged with protecting the public from unfair monopolies — to ask Johnson to drop several proposed Uber regulations.

Their entreaties, it was claimed, helped persuade the Authority, in December 2015, to publish a statement saying it was ‘concerned’ the Mayor would ‘excessively and unnecessarily weaken competition’ if he cracked down on Uber.

To establish whether either story might be true, the cabbies’ union decided to use the Freedom of Information Act to find out what the Department for Business — known as BIS — had been up to.


Cameron's key confidante Oliver Letwin held extensive talks with Boris Johnson and the Transport Secretary
It wrote asking for ‘copies of email or written correspondence between ministers, special advisors and senior civil servants and other Government departments or public bodies’ relating to Transport for London’s regulations with regard minicabs for the period September to December 2015’.

On June 10, Javid’s department responded, in a letter on headed notepaper attributed to the Whitehall ‘regulatory delivery directorate’. Short and unequivocal, it declared that ‘following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that there are no records’ of the sort requested.

In other words, it appeared the department was claiming that neither Javid, nor any of his special advisers, nor any senior department civil servant had sent any email to any other ministry or public body concerning the proposed Uber regulations, during the period in question.

Remember: this reply was sent under the Freedom of Information Act, which requires Government officials to answer such questions truthfully. Breaking it can lead to criminal prosecution.

All of which now raises some troubling questions. For as a result of emails that were later disclosed by London’s City Hall after a separate FOI request, we now know that Javid was indeed present at a meeting held to discuss the proposed Uber regulations on December 16, 2015.

Related Articles

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£1m-a-year Rachel, favours to Uber from No10 and the growing smell of scandal: GUY ADAMS investigates the links between Cameron's government and the taxi firm 
It saw him, along with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and key Cameron confidante Oliver Letwin, hold extensive talks on the issue with Johnson himself.

Also there, according to a civil servant’s note of the proceedings, were ‘various Government officials and special advisers’ including Daniel Korski, the Downing Street fixer.


Senior figures in David Cameron’s government decided to secretly intervene to persuade the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to abandon proposed new regulations that would curb Uber’s growth in the capital
The official purpose of the meeting, the civil servant’s email explained, was to discuss what it called the ‘consultation on the Private Hire Regulations Review’ — the exact topic McNamara’s FOI request asked for correspondence about. Given this fact, Javid’s department’s response that there was ‘no record’ seems — shall we say? — odd.

In theory, such a denial could only be supported if that key December 2015 meeting (involving several ministers, advisers and other officials, from across Whitehall and Downing Street) had been scheduled without any correspondence being sent to or by Javid, or any of his senior members of staff or civil servants.

Is it reasonable to believe, in an ever-more-connected world where even minor meetings are routinely arranged via email, that this was the case?

Is it also plausible that after this important meeting, no record, minutes of proceedings, or other note of its existence, or even any related correspondence can have been conveyed to or from anyone senior in Javid’s department?


Daniel Korski, the Downing Street fixer, was among ‘various Government officials and special advisers’ at the talks between the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Johnson, according to a civil servant's notes
In response to questions from the Mail, Javid’s staff insist that they acted appropriately.

‘There are clear procedures in place when it comes to answering Freedom of Information requests and all of those were followed,’ they say. ‘Searches were undertaken to identify any correspondence within the scope of the request — these were carried out within Freedom of Information rules and no relevant information was identified.’

However, not everyone is convinced.

The taxi union has written to the Information Commissioner, which regulates FOI disclosures, asking for a formal investigation into whether the department’s claims were accurate. It’s also filed a complaint to the Parliamentary Standards Committee and the head of the Civil Service.

We shall see what becomes of them. But as the Mail revealed last week, the Information Commissioner has already begun at least one inquiry into a parallel incident involving Cameron’s No 10 team.

It centres on a response to another Freedom of Information request sent in March last year in which No 10 denied there were records of any exchanges about Uber with Boris Johnson’s City Hall officials.

In fact, No 10’s claim was later shown to be highly dubious.

For such correspondence, as the Mail reported, was separately found and released by Transport for London. This showed that Daniel Korski sent the organisation at least three emails and received four about Uber.


There are widespread calls for a full Parliamentary inquiry. Lib Dem leader Tim Farron says: 'It’s time a full investigation was undertaken into this cover-up at the heart of Government’
Not surprisingly, there is a growing furore about this suspected culture of cover-up — fuelled by the fact that Osborne, who was one of those lobbying for Uber to be spared stringent new rules in London, is now being paid £600,000 a year to work one day per week for BlackRock, a U.S. investment firm with a £500 million stake in Uber.

Indeed, there are widespread calls across Westminster for a full Parliamentary inquiry into the relationship between Uber and Cameron’s inner circle.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron says: ‘There is a gathering amount of evidence that No 10 and ministers attempted to cover their tracks over how they have lobbied for Uber. It’s time a full investigation was undertaken into this cover-up at the heart of Government.’

Meanwhile, there is the second, parallel issue that the taxi union had heard whispers of: the question of whether Javid’s staff secretly urged the Competition and Markets Authority to criticise Boris Johnson’s proposed crackdown on Uber.

For while his ‘BIS’ department has formally insisted neither Javid, nor his advisers, nor any ‘senior civil servants’ contacted any other public body about Uber during the period in question, a separate FOI request — to the Competition and Markets Authority — appears to tell a different story. It reveals Authority staff discussed Uber with ‘BIS colleagues’ via email on multiple occasions. On October 5, 2015, for example, staff at the regulator were told that Javid’s department ‘wanted to know if we’re planning to respond to the Transport for London [TfL] consultation on Uber’.


Osborne, who was one of those lobbying for Uber to be spared stringent new rules in London, is now working one day per week for BlackRock, which has a £500m stake in Uber
Emails were then exchanged between officials at Javid’s department and the Competition and Markets Authority on October 12, 13 and 14, with the subject line ‘Tfl/Uber’. They mentioned that staff at the two organisations were scheduling phone conversations to discuss details of their respective positions on Uber.

On October 19, a member of the Authority’s staff even contacted one of his peers at the Department for Transport, apparently on the instructions of a BIS civil servant, saying: ‘I had a useful conversation with [name redacted] about BIS’s thinking on this matter and I thought it would be useful to speak to you as well.’

Finally, on October 27, an official at Javid’s BIS department exchanged emails with a colleague at the Authority saying his office would find it ‘very useful to know where CMA’s thinking is’ on Uber regulations and proposing a ‘quick call’ on the phone to discuss it.

It follows that multiple emails about the Uber affair were being sent from Javid’s department to the Competition and Markets Authority, a ‘public body’, during the period in question.


A stench now hangs over not only Cameron’s No 10 team, but a growing swathe of Whitehall. And, of course, a serving Cabinet Minister, Sajid Javid
So, why did Javid’s ministry suspect no such email existed?

Asked about this matter, a spokesman for Javid’s ministry claimed that those emails were not disclosed in the BIS department’s original FOI response because they failed to fall ‘in the scope’ of the request.

The spokesman argued that the FOI request that was refused had merely asked for correspondence about Uber from ‘senior civil servants’, and said that the civil servant who sent the emails from BIS to the CMA was not sufficiently important to be officially regarded as ‘senior’.

Is that a fair point, or weasel words? Sadly, we cannot be sure: the individual’s name has been redacted from the correspondence released under FOI.

However, what we do know is that after these emails were exchanged, the CMA took the unusual step of deciding to speak out forcefully against regulation of Uber.

Its eight-page statement opposing nine of Boris Johnson’s 25 proposals, published in December 2015, stunned many observers, who did not regard the issue of cab regulation in London as being something the Competition and Markets Authority ought to take an interest in.

After all, the public organisation, which is charged with protect consumers from the unfair power monopolies, had only days earlier been formally asked — again by the black cab lobby — to investigate whether loss-making Uber was using a predatory pricing structure.

A written complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority by taxi-drivers (seen by the Mail) claimed that tax-dodging Uber was charging artificially low fares in order to try to drive competitors out of existence and establish a monopoly which could be exploited in future.

In response to that complaint, the Authority said it would not investigate the matter because it was ‘unlikely to fit with the CMA’s current strategic priorities’.

So at one moment, the Competition and Markets Authority was claiming it wasn’t interested in an Uber issue.

The next moment, just days later, it was deciding to publish a lengthy document telling Boris Johnson in great detail why he ought to leave Uber alone. It gives the impression of being a strange, and sudden, volte face.

And there’s another intriguing piece of this complicated jig-saw. Alex Chisholm, a career civil servant who was the CMA’s chief executive at the time of this controversy, has since become permanent secretary in Sajid Javid’s BIS department.

And for its part, the Competition and Markets Authority vigorously denies that either Javid or anyone from the BIS department had any influence on its decision to oppose regulation of Uber, saying: ‘We did not respond to the consultation because of an “instruction” by Government.

‘We chose to respond as we believed it could reduce competition.’

Yet many MPs are increasingly concerned about this affair. Among them is Labour’s Wes Streeting, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, who has seen copies of emails between Javid’s department and the Competition and Markets Authority.

He says: ‘The Competition and Markets Authority is supposed to be independent of government and acting in the interests of customers. If, as it appears, senior figures in government have leant on the CMA in Uber’s favour, this is incredibly serious and demands an independent investigation.

‘Given that the Competition and Markets Authority told the taxi industry that an inquiry into Uber was “out of scope”, and then subsequently lobbied the Mayor of London in Uber’s favour, there is a foul stench of hypocrisy hanging over the whole affair.’

He’s right, of course. For that stench now hangs over not only Cameron’s No 10 team, but a growing swathe of Whitehall. And, of course, a serving Cabinet Minister, Sajid Javid.

So a full Parliamentary inquiry, into this ever smellier scandal, is surely the only way to clear the air.


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20 April 2017

Speeding Fines Set To Rocket From Next Week


From 24th April, the rules are changing in relation to the way drivers will be fined for speeding offences in the UK.  As of next week, the maximum fine will increase by 150% from £1000 to £2500.
The new rules mean that from 24th April, driver’s can be fined up to 175% of their weekly income.  They can also be disqualified from driving for up to 56 days for ‘driving grossly in excess of the speed limit’ according to the Sentencing Council.
A new three-band system will be in place, which will determine a driver’s fine and number of penalty points.  We have outlined below the three bands and the new rules that will apply to each band.
Band A – Driver’s will receive 3 penalty points and a fine, which starts at 50%, but can range from 25% to 75% of their weekly income.
Band B – Driver’s will receive 4-6 penalty points OR disqualification from driving for 7-28 days and a fine which starts at 100%, but can range from 75% to 125% of their weekly income.
Band C – Driver’s will receive 6 penalty points OR disqualification from driving for 7-56 days and a fine, which starts at 150%, but can range from 125% to 175% of their weekly income.
These bands are based on a driver’s speed in mph.  The speed limits, recorded speeds and relevant bands are shown below.
Speed Limit                                                    Recorded speed (mph)
20                       Speed 21-30 (Band A)       Speed 31-40 (Band B)       Speed 41+ (Band C)
30                       Speed 31-40 (Band A)       Speed 41-50 (Band B)       Speed 51+ (Band C)
40                       Speed 41-55 (Band A)       Speed 56-65 (Band B)       Speed 66+ (Band C)
50                       Speed 51-65 (Band A)       Speed 66-76 (Band B)       Speed 76+ (Band C)
60                       Speed 61-80 (Band A)       Speed 81-90 (Band B)       Speed 91+ (Band C)
70                       Speed 71-90 (Band A)       Speed 91-100 (Band B)     Speed 101+ (Band C)
For a first time offender, the chance to take a speed awareness course may be offered, which would mean avoiding the penalty points, but not the fine.  This however, won’t be offered to repeat offenders.
New research by Green Flag suggests that speeding offences in the UK have increased by 44% in the last 5 years.  The Sentencing Council has said that the move to raise penalties aims to ensure there is a “clear increase in penalty as the seriousness of offending increases”.


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