Cabbies in the Oadby and Wigston borough, which is in Leicestershire, will now have to prove they are able to speak and write in English, as a result of the new policy introduced yesterday. In all cases where English is not a licence applicant’s first language, they will have to show they have passed a level 2 test in English proficiency, reports Leicestershire Live.
The new policy states there is “a requirement for all drivers on first application and renewal to provide proof of their proficiency in English, where English is not their first language”.
It adds: “The policy requires evidence of an English test up to level 2 to be provided with every application submitted where English is not the first language.
“The purpose of the English Level 2 qualification is to prepare the learner for work, study and life.
“Learners who achieve this qualification will demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, listen and communicate in English.”
Oadby and Wigston Borough Council was historically controlled by the Conservative Party, but it is now in the hands of the Lib Dems. There are still two Tory seats in the upmarket part of Leicestershire, both of which are in the leafy Oadby Grange area.
The policy also features other changes for cabbies, including training in recognising “County Lines” criminals.
County Lines gangs based in large cities often take advantage of vulnerable and young people in towns, getting them to sell their drugs and use their homes as bases of operation.
The council has decided not to introduce mandatory CCTV cameras inside taxis, however.
The maximum age of vehicles at the point when a first application for a licence is made will be lowered from five to four years, although that will not be brought in until April 2022.
The maximum vehicle age at the point of annual renewal of a licence will be 10 years in 2022 and reduce each year, reaching just six years in 2026. Ultra-low emission vehicles will be exempt from the policy, however.
The changes, agreed by Oadby and Wigston Borough Council last month, were finalised after consultation with the borough’s taxi drivers, which resulted in 293 responses, said the authority.
The council did not give any information about the contents of the drivers’ responses, but said: “The council has assessed the comments and amended the policy and put measures in place to allow the taxi industry to take appropriate action.”