Taxi firms due repayments after Taunton Deane Council overcharges for licence fees (From This is The West Country)
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Taxi firms due repayments after Taunton Deane Council overcharges for licence fees
TAXI operators are getting windfall repayments after the district council admitted it overcharged for licence fees.
Hackney carriage and private hire vehicle owners could get refunds of £50 per cab after it emerged Taunton Deane Council profited out of the system, which is contrary to the rules.
The error, which will cost the council £9,500, will result in repayments of £20 per licence for the year to April 2012 and £31.20 for the following 12 months.
A1Ace Taxis director Mike Davis said he was delighted the council had agreed to address the issue following discussions in which he was involved.
Mr Davis added: “It is a legal requirement that licensing fees are set to recoup cost at most, but must not be set at a rate to profit from the administration of licences.
“The 1976 Local Government Act (Miscellaneous Provisions, section 53 and 70) is very specific with regard to the taxi trade.
“The Deane have been working to define their costs after some changes to processes and have, as one would expect of the public service, addressed an error in their calculations.
“This is a contentious issue around the country for the taxi and private hire trade, with a number of court cases pending.
“TDBC has sought to review licensing fees professionally, for which we are grateful.
“TDBC is being helpful in looking to streamline processes to reduce the cost of its work and therefore costs to the taxi trade and other licensed businesses.
“TDBC is rightly looking at administrative process changes to reduce cost, rather than reducing protection to the public across the businesses they license.
“A1Ace Taxis will continue to work with TDBC to find ways of reducing these costs.”
Deane executive councillor Ken Hayward said officers trawled through its records after a complaint from a taxi firm.
“We had to go back through everything and establish how we cost our services,” said Mr Hayward. “We established we were overcharging a little.
“It’s been resolved amicably and taxi operators are going to see some refunds to redress the balance.”
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