Banned Rotherham taxi drivers could still work in town, MPs warned

Mary NeyMary Ney
Mary Ney
Taxi drivers banned from Rotherham in the wake of the child abuse scandal may still be able to work in the town, MPs have been warned.

Rotherham Council commissioner Mary Ney said that the introduction of tougher standards in the town has resulted in around 40 drivers losing their taxi licences.

But she said those turned down for licences in Rotherham may be able to get them from neighbouring local councils who do not have the same standards before returning to ply their trade in Rotherham.

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Rotherham has introduced tougher standards - including CCTV in cabs - after the ‘prominent’ role of taxi drivers in the grooming scandal was highlighted in two reports.

Commissioner Ney told a hearing of the Communities and Local Government Committee: “We can and will get drivers coming from other parts, who are not at the same standard.

“We are talking with councils in the South Yorkshire region to try and see if we can all achieve the same standard locally, which will help, but there are some councils that have had lower sets of standards and they have licensed a lot of drivers, because you are not allowed by law to set a cap.

“It does present a problem because, if they operate in your borough, we cannot enforce against them; we have to require their licensing authority to enforce against them if there is a problem with their practice.”

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When asked by MPs if drivers could go to a neighbouring authority if they are turned down in Rotherham, she said: “I think that we will probably see some of that because they will know our standards are higher and they will not come to us.”

She made the comments last week as part of an inquiry into the work of the commissioners, who were appointed by the Government in February 2015 in the wake of the abuse scandal.

Local government minister Marcus Jones told the inquiry today that new legislation currently going through Parliament is trying to ensure ‘consistency’ on taxi licensing rules across the country.