HC Deb 27 April 1967 vol 745 cc1803-4
13. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now introduce legislation to reform the law governing London petrol taxi cabs.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I propose as soon as practicable to introduce legislation to extend the six mile limit. Other proposals are being discussed with the trade.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I thank the Home Secretary for that concession. However, in view of the state of near-anarchy in the taxi trade, including near-rebellion on the part of taxi drivers, and the grave discontent among the taxi-using classes, will he give this mater a much greater degree of urgency and priority than he has done hitherto?

Mr. Jenkins

I am not exactly sure what the hon. Gentleman's definition of the taxi-using class is, or, for that matter, his definition of a state of anarchy. I had a useful meeting with representatives of the trade on Monday. I agree that there are fairly urgent problems and I hope that we shall be able to solve them in the not-too-distant future.

Mr. Winnick

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many taxi drivers are deeply concerned about the plying for hire of minicab drivers? Does he feel that after their months and months of training, taxi drivers should be penalised in this way?

Mr. Jenkins

There is certainly a case for the private car hire business in London and one certainly has to have in mind the interests of the consumer as well as those of the operator. Equally, there is a legitimate grievance about misrepresentation in the sense that it is felt that the use of the word "cab" or of "taxi", either on a car or in an advertisement, is unreasonable, and I am looking closely into this aspect of the matter.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Would the proposed extension of the London taxi cab area extend to London Airport? We have been promised that for some time and it is very important that these taxi cabs be brought under control.

Mr. Jenkins

Yes. The extension of the six-mile limit would cover journeys to and from London Airport.