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CTN has been received this correspondence from a Bolton based private hire operator

The letter highlights the very situation that the Unite Cab Section has been campaigning against since the Coalition Government announced its Law Commission taxi and private hire review and latterly its Deregulation Bill.

I’m contacting you from xxxxxxxxx in Bolton.

A couple of issues have arisen in the last week or so regarding Uber and I wonder if you could help me with them. First, one of our drivers is leaving us to work for Uber. At first, I thought he was going to work for them in Bolton, where they are shortly commence operations. However, the driver lives in Manchester and he is planning to base himself in the City Centre. He has a Bolton PH Driver Licence and his car will carry a Bolton plate, yet Uber have said that there is no problem with him doing this. I’d like to know how this is possible, as it goes against everything I’ve ever known, or at least thought I’d known about, about working within council licensing boundaries.

Uber have not even suggested that he eventually applies for a Manchester PH Licence, they’re happy for him to work within the Manchester licensing area, whilst holding a Bolton badge and using a Bolton-plated car for as long as he wants. My question is this: simply, in your opinion is this legal?

The second issue is concerning the matter of VAT on Uber’s fares. I was  under the impression that a company that was VAT-registered (we are) had to charge and account for VAT on fares paid driectly to the company, notthe driver. In fact, I know this is the case.

As I understand it, Uber’s customers pay their fares directly to the company, which then deducts a 20% commision and passes the balance onto the driver. However, this would seem to indicate that there’s no VAT on Uber’s fares. Do you know how they are able to do this as our accountants can’t work it out.

I’ve followed your reporting on the rise of Uber with some interest and until very recently I’d held the view that they were simply a well-organised and well-funded company that was hitting our business very hard and that is was the duty of the industry to up their game to counter them. However, It does seem that they are utilising some very ‘interesting’ and possibly unfair commercial advantages in their rise to supremacy.

I’d be grateful to know your thoughts on these and any other Uber-related matters.

Authorities see this and as a sub contracting of private hire bookings, which is allowed under the Deregulation Bill. 

It is obvious to anyone that this is not the case and regulators are simply using their interpretation of the Bill as reason not to enforce.

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