COUNCILLORS have welcomed a campaign to see national standards for taxi licensing implemented.

In January a motion put forward to St Helens Council outlined concerns following changes introduced by the Deregulation Act of 2015.

They centred on there being no specific legislation to prescribe checks an authority must carry out when considering applications for a hackney carriage or private hire driver’s licence.

The motion, forwarded by chair of the Licensing and Environmental Protection Committee, Cllr Dave Banks said the “nature of the checks carried out by other licensing authorities can vary across the country” leading to “concerns that drivers and vehicles that have been refused or revoked in St Helens, may still have access to work in the borough”.

It adds as other authorities “may not have the same level of checks” there is concern this could “impact on public safety in St Helens”.

The Suzy Lampulgh Trust has launched a campaign, Steering Towards Safer Taxi and Private Hire Licensing aiming to tackle “inconsistencies in information sharing and licensing policy”leading to in passengers’ safety being compromised

Welcoming the campaign, Cllr Banks said: “It’s great news that the Suzy Lamplugh Trust has now started to campaign to get the government to implement national standards for taxi and private hire licensing.

“This re-enforces most of the points I put forward in my motion to council about the government’s Deregulation Act.

“The LGA has also commissioned development of a national database of taxi and PHV licence refusals and revocations.

“The majority of drivers do not pose a risk to passengers, but they are let down by a minority who slip through the net.”

Cllr Andy Bowden added: “Following the Labour motion to council calling for more stringent measures, I welcome the launch of this campaign, which highlights the licensing inconsistencies across the country and the dangers this poses for passengers.

“Whilst we raised our concerns and consequences locally it’s good to see the mater being raised at a national level and I hope the government will listen and take action.”