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DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Convener and Councillors Allan, Graham, Grant, Malik and Young declared interests as members of Unite. None of the members felt it necessary to leave the meeting during the Committee’s deliberations.
(i) Request by Mr Campbell, Unite the Union - item 2.1 (Review of Accessible Vehicle Policy)
(ii) Request by Mr McColl, Aberdeen Taxi Group - item 2.1 (Review of Accessible Vehicle Policy)
(iii) Request by Mr McColl, Aberdeen Taxi Group - item 3.1 (Age of Vehicles Policy)
(iv) Request by Mr Wilson, - item 2.1 (Review of Accessible Vehicle Policy) – Please note that this request was received beyond the deadline required by Standing Orders and therefore the Committee would need to suspend Standing Order 10(1) should it wish to hear this deputation.
The Committee had before it a number of requests for deputation as follows:
(i) Mr Campbell (Unite), in relation to 2.1 (Review of Accessible Vehicle Policy);
(ii) Mr McColl (Aberdeen Taxi Group), in relation to item 2.1 (Review of Accessible Vehicle Policy);
(iii) Mr McColl (Aberdeen Taxi Group), in relation to item 2.2 (Age of Vehicles – Clarification of Policy); and
(iv) Mr Wilson in relation to item 2.1 (Review of Accessible Vehicle Policy).
The Committee resolved:-
(i) to hear the deputations from Mr Campbell (Unite) and Mr McColl (Aberdeen Taxi Group) in relation to item 2.1 (Review of Accessible Vehicle Policy) immediately prior to consideration of the report;
(ii) to suspend Standing Order 10(1) to enable the deputation from Mr Wilson to be heard in relation to item 2.1 (Review of Accessible Vehicle Policy) on the agenda, and to hear the deputation immediately prior to consideration of the report; and
(iii) to hear the deputation from Mr McColl (Aberdeen Taxi Group) in relation to item 2.2 (Age of Vehicles – Clarification of Policy) immediately prior to consideration of the report.
(A) In terms of Standing Order 10(1), the Committee received a deputation from Mr Campbell and Mr Robertson, Unite representatives.
Mr Robertson referred to recent statements made in the press which he and other Unite members felt were unfair to the taxi trade and had negative implications for the trade. He went on to advise that they felt the accessible vehicle policy was contradictory and that a 100% accessible taxi fleet was unfair on those who could not use an accessible vehicle as it provided them with no choice and would create an additional cost for them as they would have no alternative to using a private hire vehicle which levied an additional £1 booking charge.
He explained that the trade had undertaken an informal consultation with passengers on the policy, and with approximately 700 responses it was clear to the taxi trade that a 100% accessible vehicle fleet would not meet the needs of everyone.
Thereafter, Mr Campbell explained that Unite appreciated that the Council had a policy which required all taxi vehicles to be accessible by June 2017, however requested, following discussions with taxi drivers and passengers, that the Committee conduct a review of the policy to ensure that it provided fairness and equality for all. He also questioned the position in respect of taxi drivers who could be exempt from the policy on medical grounds.
Members asked a number of questions of Mr Campbell and Mr Robertson.
(B) In terms of Standing Order 10(1), the Committee received a deputation from Mr McColl, Aberdeen Taxi Group, who advised that there was division within the trade regarding the Council’s policy of a 100% accessible taxi fleet by June 2017 and given this position it was felt that further consultation on the policy was the correct action at this time.
He explained that as in 2012, the Aberdeen Taxi Group, did not believe that a 100% accessible vehicle fleet was required and would welcome the opportunity for further consultation on this policy prior to it being implemented.
Mr McColl went on to advise that the taxi fleet was now substantially different to the fleet at the time of the decision being taken, with 54% of the fleet now being accessible vehicles. He questioned whether 54% of the fleet being accessible vehicles was sufficient and proposed that that could be answered through further consultation.
Thereafter, he explained that a number of drivers had already moved to an accessible vehicle in order to comply with the policy prior to its implementation in June 2017 and they would have a potential grievance should this policy be overturned. Therefore, he requested that whatever policy was agreed in respect of the taxi fleet and accessible vehicles that it be made in accordance with legal obligations and ensured that the risk of legal challenge was minimal.
Members asked a number of questions of Mr McColl.
(C) In terms of Standing Order 10(1), the Committee received a deputation from Mr Wilson, who provided an overview of his ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
With reference to article 3 of appendix A of the minute of the meeting of the Licensing Committee of 8 March 2016, the Committee had before it a report by the Director of Corporate Governance which sought to clarify and simplify the age limit for taxis and private hire cars.
The report recommended:-
that the Committee -
(a) approve the proposed new policy;
(b) instruct officers from Legal and Democratic Services to publish same; and
(c) instruct officers from Legal and Democratic Services to monitor the situation following the implementation of the accessible vehicle policy on 6 June 2017 and report back to Committee once a period of twelve months had passed from that date with further recommendations if appropriate.
The Committee resolved:
to refer the report simpliciter to Council and to advise that the request for deputation from Mr McColl could be resubmitted to the meeting of full Council at which the report would be considered.
- COUNCILLOR SCOTT CARLE, Convener