Croydon MP slams decision to kick Uber out of London

Uber: Innovation or exploitation?

A Croydon Tory MP has strongly criticised Transport for London’s (TfL) decision not to renew Uber’s license in the capital, which was welcomed by Labour mayor Sadiq Khan and trade unions.

TfL announced that it would not be giving the US technology company a new license because the controversial company was “not fit and proper” to operate in London.

The decision, which has divided opinion among politicians, was down to concerns around “public safety and security implications”.

Croydon South MP Mr Philp told the Press Association he strongly opposed the decision, describing it as a “shocking misjudgment by the mayor of London”.

“There are issues Uber needs to address, but by outright banning them in London it’s going to put 40,000 people out of work and 3.5 million Londoners are going to pay higher fares,” he said.

“The people most affected are going to be people on low incomes who can afford to take an Uber but can’t afford to take a black cab.”

He criticised the Sadiq Khan for sending the “terrible” message that “London is not interested in free markets and in innovation”.

The TfL statement said: “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”

Examples included failing to report serious criminal offences and issues with security checks of staffs.

The Mayor of London expressed his full support for the decision, saying all innovation “must not be at the expense of customer safety and security”.

“I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service,” his statement read.

“However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.

“It would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”

Protestors outside City Hall Pic: GMB

Uber, which has held a license as a Private Hire (PH) Operator since 2012, said that it will appeal the decision.

In October 2016, an employment tribunal ruled that their drivers were not self-employed, but workers entitled to basic rights, including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.

Trade union GMB, which has consistently campaigned against the company, welcomed the ruling.

Maria Ludkin, GMB’s Legal Director, said: “This historic decision is a victory for GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to – and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe.”

She said that it was about time the company changed its ways because “no company can be behave like it’s above the law”.

“No doubt other major cities will be looking at this decision and considering Uber’s future on their own streets,” she said.

The existence of Uber has long been a contentious issue, with the company’s use of technology threatening the capital’s black cab drivers.

A recent YouGov survey found that 72% of Londoners believe that TfL should require Uber to guarantee safeguards such as minimum wage and paid holidays for their drivers.

However, some people like company because it’s quick and easy to use and often cheaper than traditional taxis.

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