Wigan driver loses licensing appeal over CRB checks

Taxi drivers in Wigan have lost their appeal against the local council over enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks. The drivers had argued that forcing drivers to pay for the check every three years was unfair, as taxi drivers were being discriminated against as professions such as school teachers and care workers are subject to less frequent CRB checks. 

Hackney and private hire license holder Hugh Bennett appeared before councillors to challenge the new rules, but Wigan Council’s Regulation Committee ruled against him. Council corporate director for places Gillian Bishop said that granting the dispensation to Mr Bennett would then have set a precedent for all hackney and private hire drivers.

Bennett has been a taxi licence holder - with an HGV driving break in the middle - for a total of nine years. He still stands by his complaint. He said only the potential £150,000 legal costs were preventing him mounting an application to seek a Judicial Review of the council’s position in the High Court.

He called for “a level playing” field to be applied to all those who fall under the CRB. He said: “I haven’t got a problem with CRB checks themselves, I believe we should have them. 

Basically it boils down to my concern that one party who are subject to these checks from the council - the taxi trade - is being treated unfairly compared with other parties who fall under their jurisdiction.

“We also have to pay for our own CRB checks, which is £44, but all the other groups don’t because, as they are employed directly by the council, it pays for them itself.”

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