Agenda and draft minutes

Licensing Regulatory Committee - Monday, 17 January 2022 2.00 p.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal. View directions

Contact: Adam Moffatt  Legal, Governance and Democracy Specialist

Items
No. Item

LR/7

Minutes pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 29 November 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on 29 November 2021.

LR/8

Minutes of Licensing Regulatory Sub-Committees pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting of Licensing Regulatory Sub-Committee held on 26 November 2021 and for the Chairman of that Sub-Committees to sign, as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of Licensing Regulatory Sub-Committee, held on 26 November 2021.

 

LR/9

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests.  (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)

 

Members may, however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

 

If a Member requires advice on any item involving a possible declaration of interest which could affect his/her ability to speak and/or vote, he/she is advised to contact the Monitoring Officer at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that the a non-pecuniary interest was raised by Councillor David Webster for transparency, that his daughter had a connection to a local taxi company.

LR/10

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the items, if any, in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there are no excluded items on the agenda.

LR/11

Public Participation

Any member of the public who wishes to ask a question, make representations or present a deputation or petition at this meeting should apply to do so by no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) two working days before the meeting.  Information on how to make the application can be obtained by viewing the Council’s Website www.southlakeland.gov.uk or by contacting the Committee Services Team on 01539 733333.

 

(1)        Questions and Representations

 

            To receive any questions or representations which have been received from members of the public.

 

(2)        Deputations and Petitions

 

            To receive any deputations or petitions which have been received from members of the public.

Minutes:

Mrs Sarah Ibbetson addressed the Committee with regard to Agenda Item No.7 - Review of Hackney Carriage Fares representing the local Taxi Association.

 

Mrs Ibbetson expressed her concerns that there had been no plans for an annual review, and under current policy no further review would occur until 2026. She understood the costs of undertaking a review, but questioned whether the Council could then assure that there would be no increase in licensing fees during the same period. Mrs Ibbetson raised concerns with regard to the current and future inflation rates and the impact this would have on taxi drivers.

 

Mrs Ibbetson informed Members that due to the unique nature of the local taxi trade and the Council’s policy on older vehicles, it was difficult to compare Barrow-In-Furness with the South Lakeland area as the geography of the area meant that over half of taxi journeys were made empty

 

Mrs Ibbetson expressed the need to ensure that drivers were supported by any decision made by the Committee as the last fare increase had been in 2014.

 

Mr Andrzej Jedynak addressed the Committee with regard to Agenda Item No.7 - Review of Hackney Carriage Fares representing Ace Taxis.

 

Mr Jedynak reiterated to Members the difficulty faced by all due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, he informed Members that a lot of taxi drivers had changed profession as they couldn’t make enough money, noting that the last fee increase had been seven years ago. As a result, his company had become short-staffed and had drivers coming from outside of South Lakeland to take the positions left vacant. 

 

Mr Jedynak noted that taxi fares nationally should be increased due to the increase in cost of parts and that new vehicles had become more expensive to buy, particularly when taking into account the cost of electric vehicles. Mr Jedynak concluded his address by informing Members that raising maximum fares would not necessarily result in increased charges across the board, as the fares charged were at the discretion of taxi companies and drivers, with some discounts being provided for local residents.

 

Mr Phil Kirkby addressed the Committee with regard to Agenda Item No.7 - Review of Hackney Carriage Fares as an employee of Ace Taxis.

 

Mr Kirkby informed Members that due to the increased popularity of South Lakeland as a holiday destination, new hotels had opened and there had been significant changes to the night-time economy.  He emphasised the need to increase fares to match the increase to the fees being charged by hotels and other local businesses as taxi drivers were still using the same basic rate as seven years ago. He concluded by assuring Members that, in his opinion, the local market would support an increase to the maximum fares.

 

Mr David Hope addressed the Committee with regard to Agenda Item No.7 - Review of Hackney Carriage Fares as an employee of Ace Taxis.

 

Mr Hope informed Members that typically, locals had been charged twenty percent cheaper fares and that local customers had  ...  view the full minutes text for item LR/11

LR/12

Review of Hackney Carriage Fares pdf icon PDF 550 KB

To determine whether to vary the maximum fares that may be charged by hackney carriage proprietors during the period 2022 to 2026.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Specialist (Licensing) presented a report which outlined the review of Hackney Carriage Fare Tariff following a request to review. Requests had initially been made in 2020 but the review had been deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The fares had last been reviewed by the Committee at its meeting on 7 June 2016, when it had been decided to make no changes to the fares at the time.

 

The report informed Members that officers from the Licensing Department had surveyed the Hackney vehicle trade on potential fare options. The Specialist (Licensing) outlined the five options presented as part of the survey. Of the 274 Hackney carriage drivers surveyed, 51 had replied, which represented 18.6% of the drivers contacted. The Specialist (Licensing) directed Members to a full summary of the survey and collated driver emails in Appendix A to the report.

 

The report further stated that current fares stood at £3.70 for the first mile (or part thereof) and then £2.70 for the second mile.

 

The report suggested that if Members were minded to increase the Hackney Fare Tariff, three options were recommended based on the collated information. The Specialist (Licensing) reminded Members that the Committee may wish to set a different percentage increase to the fare tables or retain the existing tariff as referenced.

 

The Principal Specialist (Environment) and the Specialist (Licensing) responded to questions raised by members.

 

There was a general agreement by Members that it had been a long time since the last fare review, and that inflation, minimum wages, fuel costs and vehicle prices had all risen significantly since then. It was felt that the report’s suggestion of a fare rise of 2.9% was too low, but that the drivers’ proposed increase of 9.75% was too high. It was therefore proposed and seconded, that a fare increase of 5.4% be considered. The Chairman then moved to vote on the proposed increase of 5.4%.

 

It was unanimously

 

 

RESOLVED – That:-

 

(1)        the maximum Hackney Carriage Fares be increased by 5.4% across all tariffs, subject to the consultation period lasting no less than fourteen days.