London Mayor Sadiq Khan could be in breach of equality rules over Uber ban
London Mayor Sadiq Khan could be in breach of equality rules as Uber vows to take court action over ban
Uber vows to take court action against Transport for London's ban
By Nicola Harley 23 SEPTEMBER 2017 • 9:24PM
Sadiq Khan could be in breach of equality legislation over the decision not to renew Uber’s licence in London, a former adviser has warned.
The Mayor of London was told on Saturday that because more than 90 per cent of the 40,000 drivers are from ethnic minority backgrounds, the move has destroyed a “lifeline” for them.
The taxi app has announced it will take court action against Transport for London’s (TfL) ban, which is due to come into force next Saturday.
TfL claimed the service was “not fit and proper” to hold a licence amid allegations of sex crimes by its drivers, but women’s charities fear passenger safety will be put at risk.
On Saturday a petition to reinstate Uber had more than 590,000 signatures.
Iqbal Wahhab, former chairman of the Department of Work and Pensions Ethnic Minority Advisory Group, said the move could breach TfL’s legal duty to ensure minority groups were not discriminated against.
“I wonder what regard TfL gave to this legal duty as part of its decision making process,” he wrote in the IBT.
“There is a huge disparity in socioeconomic conditions of BME [black minority ethnic] citizens and their white British counterparts. And for many of them, Uber was a way to earn a living, however modest, and come off benefits.
"If they are able to win their appeal, Uber will have to rigorously clean up its conduct and be fit to serve London better. But by having put fear of economic uncertainty into 40,000 households, City Hall could more rigorously interrogate all its responsibilities.”
The move by TfL followed a letter from Scotland Yard in April, which raised concerns that Uber was failing to report crime, including sexual assault.
The latest figures indicate that sex attacks involving Uber drivers could now be running at almost one a week, with allegations having increased by 50 per cent in a year to 48 alleged offences.
In 2015, 126 London taxi drivers were charged with violent or sexual offences.
Nimco Ali, co-founder of the anti-FGM charity Daughters of Eve, said: “The mayor talks about public safety while knife crime is at a record high and women use Uber for safety. If the mayor thinks cancelling the licence is how to make women feel safe, it shows how much he knows and cares about [violence against women] in London.”
Uber says TfL gave it no notice of the conditions it wished the company to address and have only held one meeting once this year.
“We plan to file an appeal,” an Uber spokesman told the Telegraph. “We stand ready and willing to talk to TfL and put things right for Londoners. Not once has TfL told us what requirements they wish us to make.”
Uber has 21 days to appeal, and if it does, the app will operate as normal until the appeal is completed. The process could see the dispute go on for up to a year.
On Saturday Mr Khan said customers’ and drivers’ anger “should be directed at Uber” but conceded that it would “take time before this situation fully plays out”.