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Highland taxi fares frozen for next year despite firm’s appeal to increase costs

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Highland taxi fares will remain the same for the next year, despite calls from firms desperate to increase prices.

A public consultation has now closed on the issue, and if there are no appeals by April, the fares will remain frozen.

The only change will be a rise in the “soiling fee”, from £100 to £120.

Committee chairman Andrew Jarvie said he had not seen any rationale for increasing the fares.

He said: “We haven’t seen evidence of extra costs.

“Fuel has gone down by 4% and used vehicles by 6%, so we see no particular cost pressure, whereas the trade told us there was an adverse impact from the previous rise.”

Inverness operator Sneckie Taxis objected to the freeze, saying their business will struggle without the rise.

When tariff rises were first mooted in December, Sneckie director Raymond Munro said Highland Council tariffs were among the lowest in the country and should go up by 20%.

His is the only firm to employ its 40 drivers on contracts.

Mr Munro told councillors at yesterday’s licensing committee meeting that drivers deserve a living wage and the protection that employment contracts provide.

He said: “We believe our company and its 40 staff generate more revenue per year for the exchequer than what 200 self-employed drivers would do.

“We need an increase to be able to stay in the taxi business and continue to contribute the £500,000 or so per year which our company currently contributes to HMRC.”

 

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