Councillor Alan Bolshaw, the licensing lead for Wolverhampton council, has launched a scathing attack after taxi drivers revealed plans to hold a go-slow protest in the city on June 28 – the same day as England’s final group stage match against Belgium in the World Cup.
The drivers are protesting in a bid to pressure the council into introducing tougher licensing tests as they say they are being forced out of their jobs as thousands of licences are handed out by the council to drivers across the UK.
But Councillor Bolshaw described the drivers’ comments as ‘codswallop’ and said it was ‘pointless’ to keep protesting.
He said: “This proposed action is nothing short of outrageous.
“Protests of this nature do nothing but inconvenience the public and to plan this on the evening of an England World Cup match, when the city centre will be very busy, is a provocative act which will only serve to antagonise people.”
Campaigners claim the council have made the licensing test too easy, which has led to too many taxi drivers on the roads.
The test also takes 20 working days or less, and costs £69 – the cheapest in the region.
A total of 40 per cent of candidates fail the exam each time, the council revealed.
Councillor Bolshaw added: “The driver representatives talk about public safety being the motivation behind this action.
"This is utter codswallop, this action is about protecting an industry which for too long has been a closed shop which doesn’t welcome competition – even if the public do.
“Technology has revolutionised the taxi industry and Wolverhampton Council has been at the forefront of this step change.
“It is pointless drivers protesting to us about issues which are governed by national legislation and the fact I keep having to say this is frankly becoming tiresome.
“The law allows drivers and operators to get their licence where they wish and if people choose to come here because of our efficient and speedy system, then we are not allowed to turn them away.
“I urge the drivers to call off this futile action and if they are serious about these issues, perhaps would do better to take them up with the lawmakers at Westminster rather than once again target the people of Wolverhampton.”