Judges reject minicab congestion charge exemption

Sign Image copyright TfL
Image caption Sadiq Khan said removing the exemption was designed to reduce congestion

Judges have rejected a bid to exempt minicab drivers from the London congestion charge.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) claimed the charge for minicabs does “serious harm” to black and ethnic minority (BAME) drivers.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan removed an exemption from the daily £15 charge from private hire vehicles in April 2019.

Court of Appeal Judges upheld Mr Khan’s decision on Wednesday.

The mayor said the move had been designed to reduce congestion.

IWGB argued removing the minicab exemption indirectly discriminates against a 94% BAME workforce.

It said 88% of London’s traditional black cab drivers were white and remained exempt from the charge.

The union also said women, who are more likely to work part-time, were disproportionately affected, and disabled passengers would be adversely affected by a reduction in the number of available minicabs.

Three senior judges dismissed the union’s appeal, ruling the mayor was entitled to introduce the measure.

Chancellor of the High Court Sir Geoffrey Vos told the court he found the impact on BAME workers “troubling”.

He said: “At first sight, the measure adopted by the mayor looked as if it might have been targeted at minicab drivers.

“On careful analysis, however, I have been persuaded that appearances were indeed deceptive.

“In short, the measure and its discriminatory impact on BAME minicab drivers was, in my judgment, justified by the legitimate aim of reducing traffic, congestion and pollution.”