Liberal Democrats have called for Labour to rethink their plans on private hire vehicle policy, which has angered many taxi drivers who believe the measures will force them out of a job.
In a plan to reduce carbon emissions, Labour are proposing to change the age of vehicles able to register as private hire vehicles from under 5 years old to under 1 year old and the length of time a vehicle can remain licensed from 9 years to 7 years, meaning that taxi drivers will have to fork out for a brand new car every 7 years.
In 2013, Labour tried to introduce a similar policy to ban Ice- Cream vans over 5 years old from the roads but was forced to make an embarrassing U-turn after the public and the Liberal Democrats pointed out that this would mean up to 90% of Sheffield Ice Cream vans being banned.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed said
“This is a classic example of Sheffield Labour’s anti-business attitude. We welcome proposals to reduce emissions but not at the expense of hard working taxi drivers. Hopefully Labour will listen to people for a change and scrap these crazy proposals.”
In addition to forcing taxi drivers to waste their hard earned money on new cars, the council want private hire vehicles to have permanent signage. Private Hire Vehicles already have to have signs whilst they're in use but having signs on all the time will leave them as a target for vandals and thefts.
Shahid Ali, Liberal Democrat campaigner in Nether Edge said
"Labour Councillor David Barker admitted in a public meeting recently that the Labour Councillors who think up the policies on the Licensing Committee don't know anything about the trade. It's crazy that these proposals have been put together and put out for consultation causing many taxi drivers to feel they are under attack from our Labour Council without anyone within the Labour party pointing out the repercussions these measures would have."