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London’s streets paved with gold…

but only if you are best friends with the Tories

By Jim Kelly. Chair, Unite the union London & Eastern Regional Committee.

This Tory government seems enthralled by Uber, Google and other hi-tech companies, companies which pay their main taxes in Holland, Ireland or Bermuda on their turnover of billions earned in the UK.

Cameron, Osbourne & Javid appear to be the servants of these new American hi-tech companies, like UBER, which we feel exploits its drivers by using their self-employed status to extract maximum income from them which translates to those drivers working long hours. 

The Tory interference in the recent Private Hire Consultation is unprecedented. This government claims to believe in devolving decision making yet they have made a number of public statements designed to intimidate TfL.

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The public has a right to know how much, if any, influence Rachel Whetstone, Cameron’s close family friend, former PA to Michael Howard and now an UBER senior vice-president  had in Sajid Javid’s public threats to TfL that they would step in to overturn any new proposals which undermined App based mini cab operators such as Uber.

This Tory government claims to support devolution of power, moving towards more localised decision making, but obviously this only applies when it suits big business.

The consultation was an opportunity to review the existing regulations and increase the safety of the travelling public. Instead it became an exercise in protecting certain business and operating models.

In an email to Business Insider Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds said:

“I share many of the concerns that have been raised in the UK and elsewhere about Uber’s tax arrangements,” she said. “As a result, I have asked for the company to appear in front of the European Parliament’s ‘special committee’ which was set up to investigate corporate tax avoidance. I have also raised issues with their business model with the EU’s Competition Commissioner.”

“It is especially worrying that Uber’s business model appears to have been specifically designed, from the start, to reduce its tax liabilities.”

“Some people have suggested that criticising Uber’s business model is to criticise the new digital economy. This could not be further from the truth. There are huge numbers of digital companies out there which are creating value through increasing productivity and adopting innovative new business models.”

“Uber’s profitability, however, seems to be based on reducing its tax liabilities and screwing down pay for drivers. That is not the kind of ‘innovation’ which will help us create a sustainable digital economy for the future.”

The Uber business model which according to Anneliese Dodds “seems to be based on screwing down pay and reducing its tax liabilities within the UK”. Has been given a clean bill of health, helped in no small part by the Tory cabinet. Should Londoners’ settle for a company which pays its taxes in Holland on its profits from its London operation?

Londoners should demand answers:

  • What is the relationship between this Tory cabinet and their friends at Uber?
  • Why did Cabinet ministers openly threaten TfL with recriminations if it updated private hire regulations?
  • Why should Uber be allowed to continue to operate and make its profits in London without paying its taxes in the UK?
  • Why has Boris Johnson failed to enforce existing PH regulations and protect both the Taxi and existing private hire trades?

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London’s taxi service has had to endure the chaos of eight years of incompetent Tory mayoral control, enough is enough!

The London cab trade, at the very least, needs to ensure we don’t have to suffer more of the same from Tory Goldsmith.


For further information please contact: Peter Rose,  07903 525 520

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