Social, cultural and economic opportunities in London (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
May 22, 2002
Question By: 
John Biggs
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

I would like to explore with you, Ken, a couple of high profile and effective initiatives that you could be pursuing and I would like to hear from you your reasons for perhaps not pursuing them. You talked about Aldgate, for example, but there are many transport interchanges in London where people feel that they are going into an unsafe area as soon as they come out of the entrance of the interchange. It seems to me that you could do a lot of effective high profile work on addressing that.

The second aspect, which would be enormously high profile and would be instantly recognised by people across London, including women who are fearful of travelling at night, is the licensing of minicabs so that they have a conspicuous badge, so that people know that a minicab is a minicab, and that it has the driver identified on it. I appreciate the range of excuses, to which you need to add the filibustering by Eric Forth, and I am damned if I know why he did it, but he is a Conservative London MP, and he prevented this legislation from going through parliament a long time ago. I appreciate you have a range of reasons why it hasn't happened yet, but I think Londoners would reward you gratefully if you were to expedite the licensing of minicabs and put extra resource into that. I think that would be an example of best value.

Answer

Answer for Social, cultural and economic opportunities in London (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Social, cultural and economic opportunities in London (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Well, we will work our way through interviewing and running police checks on 40,000 people. I don't know how rapidly the police service can turn round those checks. I suspect this is most likely more than they normally do in a year. But we already should have that security. Every driver in the 1,600 registered firms is now known to us; their address, their National Insurance number and every journey they undertake. If we find a cab firm that isn't recording journeys they will lose their licence. Any firm now practising that hasn't been licensed is unlawfully doing so.

A particular problem is that, as things stand at the moment, it is not lawful for a minicab to have that sort of badge or display, which would allow them also to start to ply for hire on the streets. Therefore we do need to change the existing legislation if we are going to move to having minicab firms with a big sign stuck on the side. I think we may get there once we have registered everyone but at the moment there is one minicab firm in South London, which has put on its cars "Licensed Minicab Firm". This is illegal and there is a legal case starting to actually force them to drop that.