Taxi driver accuses Angus Council of discrimination

Angus Council , Angus House, Orchardbank Business Park in Forfar.
Angus Council , Angus House, Orchardbank Business Park in Forfar.

A Brechin based taxi driver has hit out at Angus Council, accusing the local authority of age discrimination following his licence renewal.

Allan Swan (52) said: “I received a letter from Angus Council stating that my taxi licence renewal has been approved subject to me submitting an up-to-date medical certificate as I am over the age of 45.

“The Equality Act 2010 says that you can discriminate because of age but only if it can be considered “justifiable discrimination”. To do this you must have a policy that clearly states why you are justifiably discriminating and why 45 years old rather than 35 or 50 or 55.

“I asked Stephen Brown, a solicitor at Angus Council, if he could provide me with a copy of their policy on justified discrimination. I was given a policy based on a report published by the Medical Commission on accident prevention in 1995.

“He then tried to tell me the Equality Act 2010 did not come into effect till 2012 and that is why they are just getting round to it.

“The fact is the act is in effect now and Angus Council are breaking the law however they look at it. If I decided to go to court, I then face another dilemma in that the people who are responsible would be unaffected by any decision made in court.

“I am quite happy to get a medical, not however, because I’m over 45. I would not get away with this kind of discrimination so why should they.

A council spokesperson said: “The council requires all new applicants for a taxi or private hire driver licences to submit and pass a medical to Group 2 DVLA standards.

“Since 2005 the council has required applicants to submit and pass a Group 2 medical at the first licence renewal after the driver is 45 and this is repeated at six yearly intervals until applicants reach 65, after which yearly medicals are required. This practice is in line with DVLA requirements for bus and lorry drivers.

“We are reviewing a number of our policies in light of legislative changes and this review will include medicals for taxi and private hire car drivers.”

The Scottish Government’s ‘Taxi and Private Hire Car Licensing: Best Practice Guidance for Licensing Authorities’, published in April 2012, said: “It is common for Scottish licensing authorities to apply the ‘Group 2’ medical standards (applied by DVLA to the licensing of lorry and bus drivers) to applicants for taxi drivers’ licences.”