Miliband: Milton Keynes scandal shows importance of taxi driver regulations

Ed Miliband Milton Keynes visit October 16 2014
Ed Miliband Milton Keynes visit October 16 2014

Labour leader Ed Miliband visited Milton Keynes on Thursday, and called on the government to drop their plans to reduce red tape for taxi drivers.

The Leader of the Opposition spoke out in light of the sex scandal in Milton Keynes, which caused Mayor Subhan Shafiq to step down after he gave a character reference for a convicted rapist who worked as a city cabbie for three years.

Mr Miliband said cases like the one in Milton Keynes illustrated the dangers of government’s Deregulation Bill.

“This is exactly why you need to be careful,” he told the Citizen.

“Everybody is in favour of having as little red tape as possible, but you have to avoid acting without thinking and remember the safety of ordinary people who use taxis.

“The taxi and minicab reforms were added to the bill in March, but the government didn’t publish an impact assessment on their rushed and risky reforms until seven months later, because Labour asked for one.”

Mr Miliband was visiting Milton Keynes to unveil the Lyons Report, a housing plan that details Labour’s proposals to build 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and double the number of first-time buyers nationwide.

He was at Oakgrove Village in Atlas Way, and cited a recent study which showed that 31 per cent of people aged 20-34 could be living with their parents by the year 2025.

Mr Miliband said: “This is a principle not only to build new homes but to make sure that first-time buyers benefit from them. Local authorities will be given the power to set aside 50 per cent of new housing for first-time buyers, so that they aren’t just bought by people from outside the area but that local people and local families.”

Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, challenged the Labour plans.

He said: “Labour are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. They say they can meet their housing promises and not borrow a single penny extra to pay for it – but this just isn’t credible.

“Thanks to this Government’s long-term economic plan, house building in England is at its highest since 2007 and in the last twelve months, 230,000 homes received planning permission.”