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Taxi drivers postpone strike over West Suffolk Council policy



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A taxi driver strike over a West Suffolk Council policy which states all taxis must switch to wheelchair accessible vehicles has been postponed.

The strike, which was set for Monday, would have included a mass demonstration by taxi drivers outside West Suffolk Council offices in Bury St Edmunds.

But Suffolk Police has said this could not go ahead due to a lack of eight days notice given to them.

Taxi drivers in places such as Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Haverhill had agreed on the strike action.
Taxi drivers in places such as Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Haverhill had agreed on the strike action.

On Tuesday, the council announced a review into the policy would start in a month. The announcement followed our report last month, where Bury cabbies said the policy change was a ‘bombshell’.

They felt a mixture of wheelchair accessible vehicles and traditional saloons accommodated all customers, particularly many elderly people who were unable to climb into the wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Now, the taxi industry and people with disabilities will have their say in a review of the policy, which requires new vehicles licensed in West Suffolk to have wheelchair access.

West Suffolk Council said the requirement for new vehicles to be wheelchair accessible had been in place since 2019, but within the next month it would be engaging with people with disabilities, taxi owners, taxi businesses and representatives from all groups.

Details of the review will be released nearer the time and any changes to the policy will then go out to further public engagement. During this time the licensing team is working with the trade on applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cllr Andy Drummond, West Suffolk Council cabinet member responsible for licensing, said the review would ‘look at the challenges faced on all sides, as well as the current law and guidance on disability discrimination as well as best practice’.

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