BRADFORD'S taxi industry has united with other Yorkshire drivers to call for an end to what it describes as "outdated policies", adding that it would "help protect the taxi trade of today and for the future".

The chair of BTAG Bradford Asif Shah signed his name alongside Wendy Loveday, chair of the York Association, Yassar Ahmed, chair of the Wakefield Association and Adil Ahmed, chair of LPHD (Leeds) in letters sent to the region's council leaders.

Writing to Bradford Council CEO Kersten England and Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, the Council leader, Mr Shah said the industry had "not seen the same levels of assistance from the government as other trades". Mr Shah blamed this on taxi licensing departments being under local authority regulation and self funded.

The letter stated the group's proposals it would want the Council to consider adopting and noted that drivers are prepared to take industrial action on Monday, January 11, "upon the failure of the council to act".

The proposals included changes to vehicle renewals; a blanket policy across the region for new cars licenses; allowing private hire vehicles to use bus lanes like Hackney Carriage Taxis; a review of business rates; offering loans and grants to drivers and operators and creating a telephone number during office hours for drivers with immediate queries.

One proposal has already been backed by Bradford West MP Naz Shah although it was previously shut down by the Council. It requests that all currently licensed vehicles due to end their life before January 2022 to be offered extensions/ renewals up until January 2022, subject to meeting current roadworthiness criteria.

Read more: MP 'disappointed' by council response as Bradford taxi drivers struggle to 'make ends meet'

In many instances, some rules are permitted by some Yorkshire authorities but not in others - something that Mr Shah says leads to a "lack of co ordination amongst the departments" without "logical reasoning".

Mr Shah added: "Local authorities within the WYCA have already harmonised taxi licensing departments: delegating enforcement powers to each other and sharing crucial information to maintain and enhance safety.

"With a new West Yorkshire Mayor to be elected, now would be a great time for the taxi departments to work collectively and adopt some changes which would greatly benefit and help protect the taxi trade of today and for the future."

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “We thank the taxi drivers for their letter and we sympathise that they, like a lot of people, are going through a really tough time because of the pandemic.

“However, their primary concern is financial support which has not been provided by the Government and the secondary issues relate to the lack of a national policy or strategy requiring Hackney Carriage and private hire licensing to be harmonised across all local authorities. Having a West Yorkshire Mayor will not change this.

“Taxi drivers provide a valuable service across the whole country and we wish them success in their efforts to get a better deal from the Government.”