I have been contacted by concerned residents following recent revelations in the media about the close relationship that existed between Uber and senior figures in Downing Street during David Cameron’s time as Prime Minister.
Worryingly, these revelations suggest this relationship could have had an impact on policies at City Hall and Transport for London (TFL) — with the previous Mayor, Boris Johnson, reportedly bowing to pressure from 10 Downing Street and deciding not to proceed with implementing some new proposals relating to the taxi and private hire industry in London.
The government should investigate the relationship and make public any findings, especially relating to any impact on government or TFL policy. The Government should now also look at the impact of Uber on fair competition, passenger safety, and drivers’ pay and conditions for both black cab drivers and private hire vehicle drivers.
I am pleased that London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has already taken action to address some of the issues that have impacted the taxi trade. These include employing over a hundred more enforcement officers, introducing English language tests for private hire drivers, and making plans to open up more taxi ranks across the city. Furthermore, City Hall and TFL are now pushing central government for additional powers to help them tackle the issue of cross-border hiring, which also affects areas right across the country.
Last year my Labour colleague, Wes Streeting MP (Ilford North), founded the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis to help show support for the trade in Parliament. The group is currently conducting a cross-party inquiry into the future of the taxi trade and their resulting report will be published in before the summer. I can assure my constituents that I will consider the recommendations from this inquiry.