UPDATE: Melton taxi drivers win temporary reprieve on threatened licence fee increases

Drivers and office staff from Melton taxi firms Freddy's Cabs, Lee's Taxis, Elaine's Taxis and Mark's Cabs protest at the Sherrard Street rank against council plans to hike their operating licence fees EMN-150109-161257001

Drivers and office staff from Melton taxi firms Freddy's Cabs, Lee's Taxis, Elaine's Taxis and Mark's Cabs protest at the Sherrard Street rank against council plans to hike their operating licence fees EMN-150109-161257001

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Taxi drivers in Melton have won a temporary reprieve in their protest against council plans to increase their licence fees and operating costs by 25 per cent.

Cabbies opposed a decision by councillors taken in June to bring in the rises and at the latest meeting of the rural, economic and environmental affairs committee it was decided to defer a decision on the new charges.

Taxi firms, who said they would have to pass the extra cost of licences on to passengers in the form of higher fares if the increases went ahead, will now find out how much they have to pay at the next meeting of the committee in two months’ time.

Jim Worley, head of regulatory services for Melton Council, said: “The decision was to defer, to acquire more information on how the cost base for taxi licence applications has been arrived at.

“It is to be considered further at the next meeting of the committee in November.

“In the meantime the fees will not increase so we are still charging at 2014/15 levels and there is nothing to suggest there will be when the committee meets in November – it is their choice to make.”

A report which went before Wednesday’s meeting stated that the council wanted to claim back more of the money it spends to process licences for drivers, their vehicles and the cab firms in order for them to operate legally.

The proposed new charges would have recovered 71 per cent of the cost as opposed to 51 per cent from licence fees charged over the last year.

Melton Mowbray Tax Drivers Association said the methods the council used to calculate the licence fee increases were flawed and it called for a more accurate time and motion study to be carried out.