Uber possibly looking at £150m tax bill

Uber Possibly looking at a £150 Million Plus Tax bill as their drivers aren’t classed as Self-Employed

The latest tribunal ruling could land Uber with a tax bill running into the hundreds of millions of Pounds. Earlier in the month in a landmark judgement tribunal judges ruled that 2 drivers who Uber were claiming were self-employed should actually be classed as employed and therefore entitled to holiday pay and sick pay.

The ruling is a huge blow to Uber’s business model but will also have serious implications to a host of other service industries. If Ubers drivers were to be classed as employees rather than self-employed contractors the tax bill will be huge. Uber is currently in the process of appealing the ruling but it has opened up the doors for 40,000 drivers in London to challenge their employment status.

It has been estimated that their National Insurance Contributions alone could top £13 million a month, this would have a serious effect on their bottom line. The reclassification of their employees could also that they could be forced to pay VAT on all money raised from fares. Uber is unlikely to go down without a fight and has already written to all their drivers telling them the ruling is unique and will not result in a change of its terms of business. GMB Union that bought about the tribunal has heavily criticised Uber’s stance.

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Dean Richardson – Boxing Cabbie

Quotax are pleased to announce that their sponsored welterweight, Dean Richardson, has been invited to fight on the under card of George Grove’s bout against Eduard Gutknecht at the SSE Arena Wembley on 18th November.

Dean Richardson The boxing cabbie

This means that Richardson’s proposed fight at York Hall, Bethnal Green on 29th October has been cancelled but fighting at Wembley will provide him with more exposure as well as a great opportunity to fight in a massive venue.

 

Anyone interested in going along and supporting one of London’s youngest taxi drivers in his third professional bout should contact 07512 542168.

Dean Richardson The boxing cabbie

Dean Richardson has his eyes on the road as well as the ring

As if it wasn’t hard enough pursuing a professional boxing career, former Dale Youth ABC starlet Dean Richardson, aged 21, has also been putting in some hard graft outside the ring, as he has just completed The Knowledge and become a licensed black taxi driver.  Having turned 21 at the beginning of August, Richardson is one of London’s youngest cabbies.  He was presented with the coveted Green Badge on 26th August 2016.

Dean Green Badge

 

After leaving school at 18 and not knowing where to turn next bar boxing, the former Ruislip High school pupil opted to follow his dad’s path and train to become a cab driver, something Ray has been doing for nearly 20 years.

 

He said: “When I was younger I was never really interested in becoming a cab driver. But when I came out of sixth form still not knowing what I wanted to do apart from boxing, my dad turned to me and said what about becoming a cab driver?’

Dean Cab Driver

 

‘I knew I wanted to become a professional boxer, but at the same time I needed something to fall back on as you don’t know what’s around the corner.’

 

‘It’s been just over three years of hard work but I’m now reaping the rewards from it.’

 

He continued: ‘It’s a job I can do for life, and I can work on it when I have some spare time between training. I have that freedom, so I’m in a good position now.’

 

The prospect of that is no doubt an exciting one for the Richardson, who has made a flying start to his professional career, with back-to-back knockouts in his first two fights against Aleksejs Grustans and most recently Ivan Duvancic.

Dean Richardson Boxer

 

Richardson trains at State of Mind Fitness in Hammersmith and recently had the opportunity to train with Dale Youth ABC legend George Groves, one of a host of boxers he looks up to in the current day.

 

‘He’s someone who has fought in some really big fights in his career already,’ said Richardson. ‘That includes one of the biggest British bouts in recent history and he’s also been out to Vegas.  You can’t ask for a better training partner really than George.’

 

Richardson’s next fight is on 29th October at York Hall, Bethnal Green.  Tickets are available on 07512 542168. 

Dean Richardson Flyer

Black Cab trade boost proposed by London’s mayor

London’s mayor has announced a list of measures which are to support the black cab trade amid growing competition from the private hire sector.

Sadiq Khan has come forward and pledges that the number of taxi ranks will increase from 500 to 600 over the next four years with 20 more bus lanes operational for cabbies to use.

He went on further to state that he wants the Knowledge to be accredited as a formal qualification which would allow applicants to apply for study loans.

Come 2017 £5000 grants will be put in place to scrap old and more polluting taxis.

TFL will also feature taxi information via its online journey planner by summer 2017.

Mr Khan has also set out his intention to push ahead with the new rules for private hire drivers such as Uber.

The new rule includes drivers being required to pass an English test involving reading, writing and listening tests as well as more robust insurance regulations.

As previously reported Uber claims the proposals would pile “extra costs” for licensed private hire drivers and they are still going ahead with the High Court challenge against the rules.

Mr Khan has said he was “determined to drive up standards and improve safety for every passenger in London, while protecting the future of our iconic black cabs that provide a unique and invaluable service for London”

The plan has been welcomed by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association however the RMT union, which represents taxis drivers, stated that it was “bitterly disappointed” that certain issues had not been addressed by the mayor such as ‘illegal plying for hire and abuse of regulations’

Uber to deploy self-driving cars

Uber have confirmed that within the next fortnight app users will be able to hail self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Uber first revealed plans to use driverless vehicles two years ago however after teaming up with Volvo they have now made the plans a reality. To start with all vehicles will be supervised by a driver that will be able to take full control if necessary.

A spokeswoman for Uber told the BBC that this an ‘important milestone that no other automotive company has achieved to date’

She went on to explain, “In Pittsburgh, customers will request cars the normal way, via Uber’s app, and will be paired with a driverless car at random. Trips will be free for the time being, rather than the standard local rate of $1.30 [£0.98] per mile.”

The partners, Volvo have already sent a number of sensor-equipped XC90 sports utility vehicles to Uber for use in the trials. By the end of the year they are estimated to provide them with 100 in total.

Volvo has also given confirmation of the ‘joint project’ with Uber and provided some insight into project by stating “Both Uber and Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of their own autonomous car strategies,”

“This will involve Uber adding its own self-developed autonomous driving systems to the Volvo base vehicle.”

They also added that engineers from both firms will be collaborating on the project.

It has been noted that the deal with Volvo will not be exclusive and that Uber is making plans to work with other carmakers within the industry.

Uber is said to have invested a lot in its automated driving research programme however having raised over £7.5bn from its backers giving it plenty of financial scope at its disposal.

One caveat however – the “self-driving” Volvos picking up Uber users will still have a human in the driving seat as a supervisor. Even if Uber was confident enough in the technology to dispense with a human, neither Pittsburgh nor any other city is ready to adapt its regulations to allow completely autonomous driving.

Uber wins right to challenge driver English tests

Uber has now won the right to take TFL to court over their new rules which would require its drivers to pass an English test.

TFL recently set out new rules within the industry and wanted all private hire drivers to undergo a reading, writing and listening test from the 01/10/2016, which was accepted by the High Court. The High court also agreed in principle that firms such as Uber would be required to provide a call centre service that passengers can contact during a journey.

Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber London, said: “We’re pleased the judge has decided this case deserves a hearing.

“TfL’s plans threaten the livelihoods of thousands of drivers in London, while also stifling tech companies like Uber.”

Although Uber had initially supported the tests, they now argue that it is unnecessary for drivers to provide a certificate showing they have an intermediate level of reading and writing and it would also become costly.

Uber has more than 30,000 drivers in London and it is estimated that thousands would be affected by these rules.

TfL said: “We note that the court has refused permission for judicial review of the principle and standard of English language test, the requirement for hire and reward insurance and the ability for customers to speak to someone by telephone.

“We are determined to create a vibrant taxi and private hire market, with space for all providers to flourish.

“We look forward to the remaining issues being resolved in due course.”

Uber challenge new London taxi rules

Uber react to new rules put forward by Transport for London (TFL) by launching an application for a judicial review.

The new rules in London would require thousands of drivers to take an English language.

Uber have stated that the legal action was a ‘last resort’. The General manager of Uber London, Tom Elvidge stated

“We’re particularly disappointed that, after a lengthy consultation process with Transport for London, the goalposts have moved at the last minute and new rules are now being introduced that will be bad for both drivers and tech companies like Uber.”

Uber admits to supporting tests such as an English speaking/listening test however they have argued that it would be unnecessary for them to provide a certificate to prove they have an intermediate level of writing and reading.

Uber has over 30,000 London drivers that would also be affected by the new rulings.

Another rule that is causing further concern is that private hire companies will be required to run a London based operating centre which passengers are able to make contact with during a journey.

TFL issued the following statement in return to Uber, “We responded to Uber’s letter and will be robustly defending the legal proceedings brought by them in relation to the changes to private hire regulations,”.

A Rise in Compliance Officers

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has announced that the number of compliance officers in London will be quadrupled in a bid to crack down on illegal taxi and minicab activity.

Transport for London (TFL) will look to employ an extra 250 compliance officers by September 2017. To support the current 82 officers that TFL already employ.

Khan advised that it would “drive up standards… and help our world famous cabbies continue to thrive.”

The fully uniformed officers will be deployed across London to ensure that can drivers hold the correct insurance and documentation along with checking that vehicles are legal and road safe.

In addition they will also look to take part in operations run by other bodies to ensure wider regulations are being met by the drivers.

The BBC website posted the following figures that show between May and July TFL, Scotland yard and Westminster City Council reported;

  • 448 private hire drivers reported for not having a badge
  • 5116 private hire drivers reported for not wearing their badge
  • 65 private hire drivers reported for plying for hire offences
  • 1265 private hire drivers reported for parking on taxi ranks

The general secretary, Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) stated that drivers would welcome the move and that it is “fantastic news for Londoners and the black cab trade”

Steve Wright who is chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association claims that many of those illegally touting for business did not work within the industry and he went on to say: Many of these people simply don’t work in the industry at all or they’re partly in the industry, they’re not fully in the industry, and for that reason we shouldn’t have to pick up all the cost”.

Steve Garelick, branch secretary of the Professional Drivers branch of the GMB union added his comments: “Whilst we broadly accept the need for improved compliance and enforcement for London and its many visitors we want to assure the travelling public that the majority of journeys are safe.

“Protection against illegality is paramount. We are concerned however that the costs borne by operators will be passed on to drivers creating further hardship.”

TFL earlier this year rejected a proposal put forward to stop “e-hailing” firms from showing customers where nearby vehicles were.

Khans announcement was backed by Tom Elvidge, general manager for Uber London who went on to advise that “It is important that people only use a properly booked car from a licensed private hire operator”

Hailo to come to an end as Daimler takes over

London taxi-hailing app Hailo has now been brought by Daimler who will look to shut down the Hailo brand and merge it was its own company MyTaxi. The company will look to rebrand by mid-2017 with Daimler owning 60% of the business and the remaining 40% being owned by Hailo stakeholders.

Hailo has been recognised on the streets of London since 2011 however it was created back in 2010 by a group of 6 including tech entrepreneurs and taxi drivers. The app was similar to the others on the current market allowing customers to book a taxi at the click of a button.

Hailo was popular within the city as it offered an ‘Uber-like’ service however using black cabs instead of private hire vehicles and its cofounders were able to build a close and positive relationship with London black taxi drivers.

As of 2013 Hailo tried to roll out the app service in New York however they failed to build a close relationship with the New York cab drivers as well as the more popular areas being dominated by the rival app Uber. Due to this Hailos New York adventure came to an abrupt end with The Independent reported in 2014 that the company had made losses of £21.5 million.

The App operates in other major cities across the UK and also in Ireland and Spain. MyTaxi also has a large base with its services currently available in Austra, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

On review on the app merging it is said that the MyTaxi brand will have 70 million passengers and 100,000 registered taxi drivers spread across 50 cities within nine European countries.

Head office will be moved to MyTaxis head office which is based in Hamburg, Germany with Hailo CEO Andrew Pinnington leading the new Company.

Injured teen taxi fare avoiders will go uncompensated

Two teens that jumped from a moving cab to avoid the £10 fare have been told they will go uncompensated by a judge.

On the 27th July 2009, Joseph Beaumont, Lewis O’Neill and four other friends were picked up by cabbie David Ferrer in Salford and asked to be taken into town. Mr Ferrer had realised the youths intent on jumping the fare.

In 2008 Mr Ferrer was in fear of his life as a group of young passengers stabbed and robbed him.

The cab stopped on Deansgate and three of the youths quickly exited the vehicle running away leaving an 11 year old, Beaumount and O’Neill in the vehicle. Mr Ferrer describe his emotion as ‘panicked’ by the memory of the previous year when he was stabbed twice and seriously injured as a result.

Mr Ferrer claimed it was ‘like déjà vu’ and it was noted that he was “justifiably aggrieved” and “angry” at the attempt to be ripped off.

He then drove off with the sliding door still open so Beaumont jumped out of the moving vehicle backwards onto the road with O’Neill following suit seconds later which caused life changing head injuries to them both.

Both men suffered severe injuries and decided to sue Mr Ferrer for a large sum of compensation and stated that he was negligent for driving off at a speed preventing them from leaving the taxi. Their lawyers argued the same statement adding that his passengers did not have seat belts on and that he should have given into the young criminals and faced the loss of his fare.

Initially the case was rejected however later appealed at London Appeals Court.

Lord Justice Longmore ruled on the case that it was “regrettably all too foreseeable” that the young men would try to run away.

He went on to state that it was “understandable” that Mr Ferrer did not want to lose his fare however there was no “excuse” for the risk he took. That being said the judge continued to rule that Mr Ferrer was “overwhelmed” by the youth’s recklessness and criminal intent. He also noted that Mr Ferrer was in a “difficult dilemma” however the youths could have strapped the seat belts on while he proceeded to the police station.

The judge stated “However, each chose not to do so but rather to position himself at an opened door of the taxi and to jump out of the taxi as it was moving away.

“Neither had any legitimate reason for this deliberate and utterly reckless decision,”

Lord Justice Longmore went on to state that there are powerful ‘”public policy” reasons to why Beaumont and O’Neill should go uncompensated. The decision is backed by the long-established legal principle in which criminals forfeit their compensation rights If they are injured during the course of an illegal act.