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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:05 pm 
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Location: Hampshire (HC)
I have just received my renewal notification for my driver's badge. The Government require them to renew for 3 years. The cost has gone from £60 for a one year badge to £155 for a 3 year badge.

I believe that a Local Authority is only permitted to recover the cost of licensing. I fail to understand how a 3 year badge can cost 2.5 times more than a one year badge when the same work is involved for renewal and no work is required for the ensuing two years. What are your thoughts?

Can anyone point me towards the legislation governing the charges a Local Authority are permitted to levy for the licensing function, please?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:38 pm 
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Location: Hampshire (HC)
https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/ ... 02_web.pdf

It would appear, from page 10 of the above link, that Guildford BC may have been involved in a case but the citing link is broken and I can't find anything. Can anyone shed light on this please?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:59 pm 
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Councils are ripping drivers off with this. Our new chair of licensing is going to be asking for a review on this in our borough. When the 3 year license came in we were charged the same as the one year badge but after the first year they increased the cost by a similar amount as yours and it is currently £286 for a renewal and over £300 for a new badge.. However by that time I had been elected as a Councillor and I am no longer permitted to discuss taxi matters at the council because of my conflict of interest and no one else could be bothered until now.
By contrast, I had a meeting this morning with Rutland licensing and theirs is less than £100 for 3 years.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:02 pm 
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grandad wrote:
Councils are ripping drivers off with this. Our new chair of licensing is going to be asking for a review on this in our borough. When the 3 year license came in we were charged the same as the one year badge but after the first year they increased the cost by a similar amount as yours and it is currently £286 for a renewal and over £300 for a new badge.. However by that time I had been elected as a Councillor and I am no longer permitted to discuss taxi matters at the council because of my conflict of interest and no one else could be bothered until now.
By contrast, I had a meeting this morning with Rutland licensing and theirs is less than £100 for 3 years.



Ah yes,but do they do any checks or enforcement within the 3 year period,it would seem at that price they do not.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:59 pm 
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cabbyman wrote:
I have just received my renewal notification for my driver's badge. The Government require them to renew for 3 years. The cost has gone from £60 for a one year badge to £155 for a 3 year badge.

I believe that a Local Authority is only permitted to recover the cost of licensing. I fail to understand how a 3 year badge can cost 2.5 times more than a one year badge when the same work is involved for renewal and no work is required for the ensuing two years. What are your thoughts?

Can anyone point me towards the legislation governing the charges a Local Authority are permitted to levy for the licensing function, please?


Very difficult assessment to make without a precise cost analysis, and to be fair to councils I doubt if there is such a precise analysis available.

For a start, your point seems to presuppose that all licensing staff do is process applications for licenses, which clearly isn't the case. As Heathcote says, there's enforcement activities and what not, even if this isn't usually visible in the streets. Enquiries from drivers and the like is one similar example that will take up staff time, and won't depend on the amount of badge applications.

Another major factor is that there will be a lot of fixed costs which won't change much (if at all) even if there's less of a workload, such as office costs, heating and lighting etc. And while you might imagine that staff cost could be reduced, this may be easier said than done, particularly if it's a small licensing department with only a handful of staff.

Other activities that won't be affected too much include licensing committee activities and the cost of preparing reports etc.

At the other extreme is grandad's example where the fee was initially the same for the three-year badge as it was for the one-year badge. Of course, that was never going to be sustainable - suddenly a major source of the licensing department's income is reduced by two thirds?? :shock:

To be honest, if I was you and getting a three-year badge for £155 in an expensive part of the UK like Hampshire, then I'd be celebrating at best, or at worst just grinning and bearing it.

Suspect that at a fee like that if you kick up a stink then it may open up a can of worms that you'd wish you hadn't disturbed.

Let sleeping dogs lie, kind of thing [-(


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:25 pm 
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heathcote wrote:
grandad wrote:
Councils are ripping drivers off with this. Our new chair of licensing is going to be asking for a review on this in our borough. When the 3 year license came in we were charged the same as the one year badge but after the first year they increased the cost by a similar amount as yours and it is currently £286 for a renewal and over £300 for a new badge.. However by that time I had been elected as a Councillor and I am no longer permitted to discuss taxi matters at the council because of my conflict of interest and no one else could be bothered until now.
By contrast, I had a meeting this morning with Rutland licensing and theirs is less than £100 for 3 years.



Ah yes,but do they do any checks or enforcement within the 3 year period,it would seem at that price they do not.

Ours is £286 for renewal and we don't get enforcement either.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:37 pm 
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cabbyman wrote:
https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/5%2013%20%20OpenForBusiness_02_web.pdf

It would appear, from page 10 of the above link, that Guildford BC may have been involved in a case but the citing link is broken and I can't find anything. Can anyone shed light on this please?



Among the strongly stressed points in the Guildford report, including not having advertised licence fees for some years, and consequently having to pay them back, was the decision that councils cannot charge for enforcement on drivers or operators. The exact words in the report are set out below:-

The Council’s view was that the costs of enforcement activity, a minor part of the whole costs of licensing taxis, can be included within the fee set under section 70 and that the reference to control and supervision must also cover drivers and operators.

Having sought and considered legal advice on this point, I do not agree with the Council’s position that enforcement licences for drivers, section 53(2) only provides that the costs of issue and administration are recoverable. Section 53(2) makes no reference to any other type of cost being recoverable. In relation to vehicle and operators licences, section 70(1)(c) provides enforcement costs are recoverable for vehicle licences only. It does not refer to enforcement costs being recoverable for operator’s licences. In my view, enforcement costs in respect of drivers (section 53(2)) and operators (section 70(1)(c)) are, by their omission from the wording of the legislation, not recoverable under the Act.


In the Guildford case it was quite clear that the council had not or could not show how they had worked out what their actual costs were, and only avoided being taken to Court because they embarked on an extensive review of their accounts.

Since 2011 more and more councils have been found to be in the same position as Guildford. Many have had to pay back unadvertised fees and even Hyndburn Council had agreed to pay drivers back £210,000 having not advertised TESTING fees.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:22 pm 
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Location: Hampshire (HC)
Some interesting comments. I will let sleeping dogs lie.

Thanks chaps. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:21 pm 
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Quote:
I believe that a Local Authority is only permitted to recover the cost of licensing. I fail to understand how a 3 year badge can cost 2.5 times more than a one year badge when the same work is involved for renewal and no work is required for the ensuing two years. What are your thoughts?

Clearly it costs the same to issue a three year license as it does a one year license, as I suppose it would a fifty year license.

Problem is that councils need our fees to staff their licensing offices.

Is there anyone on here who thinks their licensing department is over staffed?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:41 am 
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Sussex wrote:

Problem is that councils need our fees to staff their licensing offices.

Is there anyone on here who thinks their licensing department is over staffed?

Problem is that they appear to be using our fees to staff other departments as well through recharges.

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