Uber driver ‘murdered his wife after Googling “what is the most painful place to stab someone”‘

Jose Leonardo repeatedly knifed 52 year-old Maria Mbombo in the body and arms, jurors heard

AN UBER driver murdered his wife after searching on Google for ‘the most painful place to stab someone’, a court heard today.

Jose Leonardo repeatedly knifed 52 year-old Maria Mbombo in the body and arms and left her to bleed to death at their family home in north London, jurors heard.

Leonardo admits killing his wife Maria Mbombo claiming he lost ‘control’

He then went to buy beer from a local shop while his two sons discovered their mother lying lifeless on the floor of the bedroom, it is claimed.

Leonardo, 56, admits killing his wife but claims he should be cleared of murder because he suffered from a ‘loss of control’, jurors were told.

But prosecutor John Price QC revealed Leonardo’s phone had been used to search Google a few hours before the murder.

One read ‘can I survive stab in the eye’ and the other was ‘most painful place to stab someone’, the Old Bailey heard.

Websites related to these search terms were accessed between 2.41pm and 2.46pm.

Half an hour later Leonardo accessed a Camden Council parking permit website.

Mrs Mbombo, who worked as a cleaner, is last known to have used her phone to speak to a friend at 3.52pm.

Both her and Leonardo’s phones stopped being active from around 5pm.

Mr Price said: “Maria Mbombo died in her home at her husband’s hand.

“He attacked her and stabbed her many times with a knife.

“Because of the wounds he inflicted upon her, she bled to death. He was alone with her in their home while that happened.

“The prosecution allege that this is a clear case of murder.”

The couple met in 1988 and move to the UK from the Netherlands in 1990 with their two sons Carl, now 23, and Jacque, 27.

On 18 May this year Jacque returned to the family flat at Chestnut House, Maitland Park Villas, Belsize Park, to find the lights out and the door locked from the inside.

He got no answer despite buzzing and kicking the door and shouting ‘Open the Door’.

Mr Price said Leonardo must have been inside with his dead or dying wife at the time.

Leonardo left the flat an hour later without speaking to his sons and both Jacque and Carl ran inside to find their mother lying on her back on the bedroom floor.

She was wearing a white top and black knickers, her face was purple and she was not breathing.

Paramedics were called at 11.55pm and arrived to find her cold to the touch with rigor mortis in the jaw.

“It was confirmed she was dead and indeed must have been dead for some time,” said Mr Price.

Leonardo, who had cuts to his wrist, was arrested near the Super Choice Convenience Store in Queens Crescent after midnight.

He told officers: “My wife is killed.”

Leonardo, of Maitland Park Villas, Belsize Park, denies murder and perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/

Uber loses right to classify UK drivers as self-employed

Landmark employment tribunal ruling states firm must also pay drivers national living wage and holiday pay with huge implications for gig economy

Uber drivers are not self-employed and should be paid the “national living wage”, a UK employment court has ruled in a landmark case which could affect tens of thousands of workers in the gig economy.

The ride-hailing app could now be open to claims from all of its 40,000 drivers in the UK, who are currently not entitled to holiday pay, pensions or other workers’ rights. Uber immediately said it would appeal against the ruling.

Employment experts said other firms with large self-employed workforces could now face scrutiny of their working practices and the UK’s biggest union, Unite, announced it was setting up a new unit to pursue cases of bogus self-employment.

Research by Citizens Advice has suggested that as many as 460,000 people could be falsely classified as self-employed, costing up to £314m a year in lost tax and employer national insurance contributions. Four courier firms are already facing legal action from cyclists who want similar recognition as staff employees and the rights that go with that status, while delivery firm Hermes is under investigation by HM Revenue & Customs.

The Uber ruling could force a rethink of the gig economy business model, where companies use apps and the internet to match customers with workers. The firms do not employ the workers, but take commission from their earnings, and many have become huge global enterprises. Uber now operates around the world, with the company valued at more than £50bn.

The decision of the employment tribunal comes amid mounting concern within government about the growing trend towards self-employed workforces. The government has recently announced a six-month review of modern working practices and HMRC is setting up a new unit, the employment status and intermediaries team, to investigate firms.

MPs launched an inquiry last week into pay and working conditions in the UK which will look at the status and rights of agency and casual workers and the self-employed for the purposes of tax, benefits and employment law, and how to protect them.

Friday’s ruling by a London employment tribunal involves a case taken by two drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, on behalf of a group 19 Uber workers who argued that they were employed by the San Francisco-based firm, rather than working for themselves.

At a hearing in July, Farrar told how he was put under “tremendous pressure” to work long hours and accept jobs and said that there were “repercussions” from the company if he cancelled a pickup. He said some months he earned as little as £5 an hour – far below the £7.20 that employers are obliged to pay workers aged over 25.

Uber argued that it was a technology firm not a transport business and that its drivers were independent self-employed contractors who could choose where and when they worked.

The judges were scathing about Uber’s arguments, however, accusing the firm of “resorting in its documentation to fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology” and even quoting Hamlet to suggest that the group’s UK boss was protesting too much about its position.

“The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common ‘platform’ is to our minds faintly ridiculous,” the judges said. “Drivers do not and cannot negotiate with passengers … They are offered and accept trips strictly on Uber’s terms.”

Nigel Mackay from the employment team at law firm Leigh Day, which represented the drivers, said: “We are pleased that the employment tribunal has agreed with our arguments that drivers are entitled to the most basic workers’ rights, including to be paid the [national living wage] and to receive paid holiday, which were previously denied to them.

“This is a ground-breaking decision. It will impact not just on the thousands of Uber drivers working in this country, but on all workers in the so-called gig economy whose employers wrongly classify them as self-employed and deny them the rights to which they are entitled.”

The GMB union, which took up the case for the drivers, said that it was a “monumental victory” which would have an impact on thousands of workers in other industries “where bogus self-employment is rife”.

Maria Ludkin, GMB’s legal director, said: “Uber drivers and thousands of others caught in the bogus self-employment trap will now enjoy the same rights as employees. This outcome will be good for passengers, too. Properly rewarded drivers are the same side of the coin as drivers who are properly licensed and driving well-maintained and insured vehicles.”

Farrar said he was thrilled with the “emphatic” ruling. He said his industry had seen the deterioration in workers’ rights since Uber entered the market. “We’ve brought that to a halt,” he said.

Employment experts said that other firms with large self-employed workforces could now face similar action. “This judgment is likely to have massive implications, as we see an increasing number of start-up businesses effectively adopting Uber’s model,” said Tim Goodwin of law firm Winckworth Sherwood. “The effect of this judgment is that those kinds of business may owe a lot more to their workers, such as paid holiday and minimum wage, than they had bargained for.”
The ruling should be regarded as “ a salutary lesson by businesses who try to arbitrarily ‘classify’ workers as contractors to avoid affording them their full rights as workers,” Goodwin said.

The GMB’s Ludkin said employers should be “on notice” that it was reviewing similar contracts. “This is old-fashioned exploitation under new-fangled jargon, but the law will force you to pay GMB members what they are rightfully due,” she said.

There were calls for more clarity over employment status, with Citizens Advice pointing out that many people were locked out of employment tribunals by fees of up to £1,200.

“The fact it takes an employment tribunal to decide whether these drivers are self-employed shows that proving employment status is an extremely complicated and costly process,” said its chief executive, Gillian Guy. “For many people struggling at the sharp end of insecure work, such as in false self-employment, taking such a case is simply not an option.”

The ruling is not the end of the process for Uber. The firm will take the case to the employment appeal tribunal, and following its decision there could be further hearings in the court of appeal and then the supreme court. Any payments due to drivers will not be calculated until that process is over.

Other drivers with the firm will not automatically receive payouts but, if the firm accepts the ruling, it will have to change its contracts to avoid more cases being taken by drivers. Lawyers say that its terms and conditions are similar for all of its UK employees.

Jo Bertram, the regional general manager of Uber in the UK, said many of the firm’s drivers did not want to be classified as workers: “Tens of thousands of people in London drive with Uber precisely because they want to be self-employed and their own boss.

“The overwhelming majority of drivers who use the Uber app want to keep the freedom and flexibility of being able to drive when and where they want.”

Uber in numbers

40,000 The number of Uber drivers in the UK

£5 The hourly wage received in some months by one of the drivers who took the case.

$62.5bn Uber’s valuation based on its last round of funding.

Seven The years that Uber has been in operation.

460,000 The number of people who could be falsely classified as self-employed in the UK

£314m The yearly estimated cost in lost tax and employer national insurance contributions from falsely classified employees, according to Citizens Advice

source: https://www.theguardian.com/

Landmark ruling looms on basic workers’ rights for Uber drivers

A tribunal is going to decide whether Uber drivers are entitled to receive the minimum wage as well as sickness and holiday pay.

An employment tribunal in London will today make a landmark ruling that could set a precedent for the UK’s so-called gig economy.

Two Uber drivers have brought a case against the car hire service which strikes at the heart of the business model that helped the company grow to be worth billions of pounds worldwide in less than a decade.

The drivers claim that Uber is acting unlawfully by denying them basic workers’ rights such as the minimum wage along with sick and holiday pay.
Uber insists its 40,000 drivers are “partners” and self-employed, meaning they are not entitled to these benefits.

Sky News spoke to Henry, who has been working exclusively as an Uber driver for two years. He says he works 14-hour days in order to earn a weekly salary of about £300.

He explained: “Uber is a very big company and they are recruiting every single day so you can’t argue with them. That is what is worrying, you could lose your job at any time.”

Jason Moyer-Lee is the leader of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, and is calling for a change to employment law to ensure workers in the sector are treated fairly.

He said: “The so-called gig economy is a euphemism for exploitation.

“It’s basically a model that big profit-making companies have developed where they have realised, for the most part, they can get away with having lots of workers who work for them, often exclusively, and help them make their profits.

“But they don’t provide these people with the minimum wage, holiday and sick pay or pensions and everything that workers across the country have come to take for granted.”

But not everyone is unhappy with the kind of work that the likes of Uber, Deliveroo and TaskRabbit offer, and instead enjoy the flexibility.
Viktor is developing his own software company alongside being an Uber driver.

He said: “I think Uber is fantastic, I don’t work for anybody or serve anybody. In fact I use it to help me network and get extra money when I need it.”

The so-called gig or sharing economy has boomed in the UK.

Deliveroo is another company embroiled in the row over workers’ rights

According to official figures, the number of people registered as self-employed rose to 4.8 million in August this year – accounting for 15% of the UK population.

As for Uber, it has two million users in London alone and they make around one million trips a week.

For many people using the one-off, on-demand services for takeaways, odd jobs or taxi rides is a convenience but critics say it’s fuelling inequality, with big companies growing at the expense of others less fortunate.

The tribunal’s decision could have huge implications not just for Uber and its drivers but for all those invested in the UK’s gig economy.

If Uber loses, it may radically change how companies in the sector do business and how they treat those that work for them.

But if the case goes against the drivers, experts say it would validate this type of flexible working and encourage more on-demand services into the market.

source: http://news.sky.com/

Taxi drivers won’t be forced to take BTEC after all because courses ‘cost too much’

THE high cost of courses to improve the level of service from taxi drivers in Christchurch has led to councillors rejecting the idea.

At a meeting of the licensing committee on Monday, members discussed plans to ask drivers to complete BTEC and NVQ qualifications in a bid to raise the quality of service for passengers.

They also discussed whether to introduce a safeguarding module for drivers to complete.

However, members felt the fees involved in the BTEC and NVQ courses were too high.

The discussion came after Bournemouth council asked their drivers to complete BTEC and NVQ courses, which led to a concern that drivers were moving to Christchurch to work.

Officers warned that there could be strong opposition to the measure, especially with a lack of government funding.

Councillor Bernie Davis, portfolio holder for safe and healthy communities, said: “Members requested that officers investigate the feasibility of introducing BTEC and NVQ qualifications for hackney carriage and private hire drivers (taxi drivers).

“We were aware that other nearby local authorities required taxi drivers to complete such courses and that this may have resulted in a displacement of applications to Christchurch. It was also felt that such qualifications may improve the general level of service offered to the public.

“At the licensing committee meeting, members decided that the fees presented made it unreasonable to make the qualifications a requirement.

“However, we have requested further investigation into other providers to ensure best value.

“Members did agree to introduce a new safeguarding module, following high profile national case reviews relating to taxi drivers and the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.”

The safeguarding module follows the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in Rotherham.

A report to the committee said officers had considered an e-learning course and seminars, but had “reservations” they could be too in depth and irrelevant.

source: http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/

Coroner orders changes to taxi licensing after ‘unfit’ taxi driver killed motorcyclist in crash

A coroner has today ruled that the death of a motorcyclist killed in a head-on crash with a taxi was an ‘unlawful killing’.

Mark Buckley from Mansfield died after the crash in March 2014, having suffered “unsurvivable” injuries.

Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court was told the taxi driver, Kevin Wiesztort, was unfit to be on the road due to lack of sleep – and the coroner has now demanded changes to licensing rules.

Mr Buckley’s partner Rachael Price told our reporter Charlotte Cross that she hopes those changes will save lives:

In a statement after the conclusion of the three-day inquest hearing, Ms Price said:

The last two and a half years have been incredibly difficult. Mark was such a positive, loving and funny man to be around and now we somehow have to rebuild our lives with only his memory.

My decision to pursue marks inquest to be resumed was because I believed that circumstances that occurred leading up to his death, if acted upon and monitored prior to the collision could have prevented it from happening.

Over the last three days the evidence I have heard has confirmed this.

To hear Dennis Lamb, the proprietor of Aaeron Cars, admit part responsibility into Mark’s tragic death was a bittersweet admission. I will be monitoring closely the outcome of his firm’s review in respects to his licensing conditions.

Mansfield District Council have worked closely with other licensing bodies across Nottinghamshire to implement changes to policies and procedures from the start of Mark’s inquest and I am hoping it will improve the future safety for the general public. I also hope other counties will look upon these changes in Nottinghamshire and review their practices to ensure this has national impact.

I hope to see safer practices enforced on taxi companies and their drivers in the hope that this can stop other people having to go through the pain and heartache we have been through.

I have offered to work closely with the licensing bodies to raise awareness in these matters and hope that going forward it can only be a positive step towards achieving this goal.

– Rachael Price

Mr Buckley, a father-of-three, was hit head-on in the crash with Wiesztort’s Fiat Doblò taxi, at around 5.30am on March 30, 2014 – Mother’s Day – as he travelled along the Derby Road in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

Wiesztort had veered onto the wrong side of the road and smashed into Mr Buckley’s Yamaha, throwing him from the bike.

The court heard that less than two hours before the smash, Wiesztort’s customers David and Michelle Newton, who had been travelling from Mansfield to Birmingham Airport, had lodged a complaint with his employers Aaeron Cars.

They told the operator he should not be behind the wheel. He had been swerving between lanes, fluctuating speed without warning, and at one point took his jumper off over his head while on the M1, leaving them frightened for their lives.

The court heard that complaint was, in essence, ignored by the owners of Aaeron Cars, Dennis and Edna Lamb.

Mansfield District Council’s licensing chiefs have now launched an urgent, 28-day review into Aaeron Cars’ operating licence, after what the court heard were repeated failures to meet standards.

Officials from councils across Nottinghamshire have also joined together to overhaul licensing standards, introducing new guidelines to restrict who can get a taxi driver or operator licence.

These include stricter fitness to drive testing, tighter monitoring of drivers’ hours, and every taxi firm having a proper complaints handling procedure.

Nottinghamshire Coroner Máirín Casey said she hoped other councils would follow suit in raising standards.

Nottinghamshire Authorities Licensing Group are leading the way nationally in terms of the changes they have implemented in this case. This is much to be commended and is a fitting legacy for Mr Buckley.

– Máirín Casey, Coroner

In tribute, Mark’s family has described him as “thoughtful, funny and kind”.

source: http://www.itv.com

The Valley has more taxis per head than London

The map of the 30 mile borough radius for taxi drivers addresses. Map from Rossendale Borough Council licensing documents
The map of the 30 mile borough radius for taxi drivers addresses. Map from Rossendale Borough Council licensing documents

Rossendale is the taxi capital of the UK with more cabs per head than London, government figures have revealed.

Valley taxis have become notorious for operating outside the borough but the shock figures show that there are more Rossendale licenced taxis and minicabs by population than anywhere else in England or Wales.

The taxi and private hire vehicles statistics released by the Department of Transport, show 1,610 taxis and minicabs in Rossendale in March 2015, – which works out as one for every 42.9 people.

London, by contrast, has one cab for every 100 people who live there.

Uttlesford in Essex has the second most, proportionately, with one for every 76.9 people.

By July of this year the number for Rossendale had risen again to 2,523 – which works out as one cab for every 27 residents.

The data shows that the total number of licensed cabs in the borough rose a staggering 412 per cent between 2013 and 2015, and the number of licensed drivers rose by 311.

Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen said he was “shocked” by the figures.

He said: “These figures are of huge concern.

“It seems that Rossendale’s taxi licensing is a magnet to all and sundry to seek a licence without working in the Valley.”

The statistical release by the DofT states: “Rossendale Borough Council had the greatest increase in both total licensed vehicles and driver licences in England.

This is likely due to the fact that although taxis can only be driven by drivers licensed by Rossendale Council, once a vehicle becomes a licensed taxi, the law allows it to accept pre-bookings in any district in England and Wales.”

Local authorities in Sheffield, Bradford, Rochdale and Derby have all publicly criticised the number of Rossendale-licensed cabs operating in their areas.

David Lawrie, chair of the Rossendale Taxi Association said he was “surprised” by the figures, but that new policies were in the process of changing the taxi industry.

He said: “The infrastructure in Rossendale is very different to London. The only transport we have seven days a week, 24 hours a day is taxis.

“I take on board that the majority of those vehicles are operating outside the borough, but once the intended use policy kicks in March they will revert back to where we were 15 years ago where we saw a maximum of 300 licensed vehicles.

“In 12 months there will be a drop from thousands to hundreds of licenses, which is a good thing for local drivers because we get negatively criticised – even though it’s the council that messed up and issued all these licenses.

“Years ago we told them to introduce a cap and they refused. This is the result.”

The intended use’ policy approved in January, sets out the council’s plan and requirements for hackney licensing and renewal. Members of the licensing committee agreed to “refine” to reject applicants whose address is beyond a 30 miles radius from a fixed point within the borough.

Councillor Steve Hughes, chair of the council’s licensing committee, said that the statistics were not “ideal”.

He said: “We obviously know there is a problem with the numbers of licensed vehicles we have and we are doing work to try and bring our policy to where it needs to be to increase the Rossendale taxis operating within the Rossendale area.

“We have been admittedly slow to dealing with the loopholes that have been created with the change in policy at a national government level.

“Other authorities have reduced their numbers of licenses more quickly but we are doing what we need to do to get there.

“There is a need for national policy that would help sort this situation out quickly and effectively.”

He added: “The intended use policy has significantly brought down the number of licence requests we are receiving and the consultation that has just concluded will make even more changes and hopefully bring that number down to ensure that we don’t have this problem moving forward.

“What I want is to make a fair and open process so that local people can have an opportunity to get into the taxi business but that doesn’t create the numbers we have” currently.”

source: http://www.rossendalefreepress.co.uk/

Taxi wars hot up in York as cabbies and Uber clash

  • Hackney drivers demand level playing field
  • York council blames Government changes and less rigorous councils
  • Uber says its drivers are acting perfectly legally

TAXI operators have raised further concerns about drivers from outside the city operating in York.

They claim operators are travelling from Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and elsewhere to pick up fares, mainly on weekends, in part due to a lack of enforcement but also due to a new company starting up in York.

Keith Hatfield, director of York Station Taxis, met the council last week and said changes to council policy meant it was easier for other companies to work in the city.

He said: “We’re not afraid of York competition that’s what we’re after, that’s fine. But as long as it’s a level playing field, that’s all we’re asking for.

“They can join Uber from York, we don’t have a problem with that, but these people haven’t gone through the local knowledge test, which takes quite a while. I know people who’ve been waiting to get through that for nine months, it’s a tough test, but makes you a better driver.”

Mr Hatfield said some Uber drivers had refused to move from Hackney ranks while waiting for a pickup, and “we have had to put rank marshals to move them”.

Dave McTernan, from Getaway Cars in York, said “dozens of out of town cars are patrolling the streets of York and working night and day”, and called it “a bad situation”.

He said: “It’s not being dramatic to say it’s out of control.

“It’s a free for all in York at the moment. We’re controlled by strict CYC regulations for everything, but getting all these cowboys coming into town and doing things illegally so it’s very aggravating.

“With Uber, the reason they are putting so much pressure on is because they know they’ve to have cars here and are paying drivers £14 an hour to come across here without bookings.”

A spokeswoman for Uber said there had been “interest from dozens of local drivers”, and all their drivers “must hold a valid private hire licence from their local city council and must maintain valid insurance and vehicle maintenance”, which also included going through an enhanced background check (DBS).

She said: “Regulations governing private hire are quite clear. Drivers licensed for private hires can pick up and drop off anywhere in England and Wales so long as their driving licence and vehicle licence match the operator licence that processes that booking.

“Uber holds operator’s licences in York, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield among others and drivers across the UK can use the Uber app to collect fares in compliance with their local licence.”

Matt Boxall, acting head of public protection at City of York Council, said the authority’s standards for drivers was high, but “other local authorities apply their own level of checks prior to licensing drivers and their vehicles, and now government laws have made it easier for licensed drivers to work in different towns”.

The council’s enforcement team currently includes 12 officers to cover “taxi licensing, environmental health and trading standards”, and two more officers were due to be appointed this week.

Mr Boxall urged anyone with concerns about drivers or vehicles to phone 01904 551525 or email public.protection@york.gov.uk

source: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/

Government department raises concern over Sheffield Council’s new policy on private hire

A Government department has raised concern at Sheffield Council’s changes to its taxi licensing policy.

The Competitions and Markets Authority raised a number of issues as plans were laid out on new policy for private hire taxi firms in the city.

The CMA said they were concerned about new rule restricting drivers to work for one private hire operator and making firms have a permanently staffed helpline based in the city.

The body also said It was ‘not necessary’ to require all firms to offer seven day advance bookings.

CMA acting chief executive Andrea Coscelli, sent a letter to Sheffield Council’s licensing boss Steve Lonnia expressing their worries consumers could end up paying more through the extra restrictions.

But Sheffield Council said they had taken on board the CMA’s and passed the new private hire policy with some amendments.

A CMA spokesman said: “Last year we looked at the Sheffield market and cleared a merger of major taxi/private hire firms because we expected competition from app-based operators.

The letter explains why some planned Council measures may stifle competition without necessarily benefitting consumers.

“It is not necessary to require a permanently staffed helpline within the city – this increases costs for operators, which passengers will then pay for;

“Only allowing owner-drivers to work for one operator means they are all likely to choose the biggest operator, so passengers could end up with only one operator to choose from, and thus there is no competition.”

Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment at Sheffield Council said: “The Licensing Committee approved a new Private Hire Operator & Vehicle Policy with some minor amendments.

“We listened to the concerns raised against some of the proposed conditions and made changes to the policy to address this. We will continue working with the Government and taxi operators to ensure our residents and visitors feel safe when travelling in Sheffield.”

Letter to council – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s … -09-16.pdf

Read more at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/governmen … -1-8164714

Tories launch crackdown on illegal taxi drivers to cut immigration

Home Secretary Amber Rudd tells Birmingham conference she wants to get tough on immigration

Tories are launching a crackdown on immigrant taxi drivers working illegally in the UK, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced.

The profession was singled out by Mrs Rudd in her speech to the party conference in Birmingham, as she promised to “get immigration under control”.

Net migration, currently 335,000 a year, would be reduced to “tens of thousands”, she said.

Mrs Rudd said quitting the European Union would mean an end to open-door migration from Europe – but the Government also wanted to cut immigration from the rest of the world.

And she announced a £140m Controlling Migration Fund to help public services in areas with high numbers of immigrants.

It’s similar to a policy announced by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at his party conference last week.

Setting out plans to cut immigration in her ICC speech, she said: “From December, immigration checks will be a mandatory requirement for those wanting to get a licence to drive a taxi.”

While she didn’t give any explanation of why taxi drivers were being targeted rather than people in any other line of work, the policy only makes sense is if the Government believes there is currently a problem with people who have no right to work in the UK driving taxis.

Other measures include making it a criminal offence for a landlord knowingly to rent out property to people who have no right to be here.

And banks will have to do regular checks to ensure they are not providing essential banking services to illegal migrants.

The Home Secretary announced measures likely to anger employers and universities.

She said the Government is to consider tightening the test companies have to take before recruiting from abroad, effectively making it harder for firms to recruit foreign staff.

Mrs Rudd said: “The test should ensure people coming here are filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do.

“But it’s become a tick box exercise, allowing some firms to get away with not training local people. We won’t win in the world if we don’t do more to upskill our own workforce.”

And she said rules which allow students to work in the UK will be toughened up – for the less prestigious universities.

“Our consultation will ask what more can we do to support our best universities – and those that stick to the rules – to attract the best talent, while looking at tougher rules for students on lower quality courses.”

She insisted: “This Government will not waver in its commitment to put the interests of the British people first. Reducing net migration back down to sustainable levels will not be easy. But I am committed to delivering it on behalf of the British people.”

source: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/

One in four Londoners fear they won’t get home safely in minicab in early hours, research finds

One in four Londoners fear they will not make it home safely in a minicab in the early hours of the morning, new research suggests.

A quarter of people living in the capital who use minicabs fear a risk to their safety when travelling in one between 12am and 4am, according to a new survey carried out by YouGov.

The survey for the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association revealed that almost half of minicab users in London doubt that they would be fully insured for any injuries sustained if they were involved in an accident.

And nearly a quarter of Londoners who use minicabs began travelling in them more over the last two years, the research found.

The LTDA has criticised popular minicab app Uber after it launched a legal challenge to tough new private hire rules including requiring drivers to pass a basic English language tests and a crackdown on insurance requirements.

Steve McNamara, LTDA general secretary, said: “Today’s figures are yet more proof of the need for action to ensure that Londoners feel safe and secure when using a minicab.

“Uber’s recent campaign for TfL and the Mayor of London to water down the overdue and much-needed update to PHV [private hire vehicle] regulations shows how out of touch they are with public opinion.”

Mr McNamara added: “The regulator must not only follow through on its proposed changes, but must take further action to raise standards across the industry, if it is to fully address passengers’ concerns and offer them, and other road users in the capital, proper protection.”

But Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber London, said: “More that 2 million Londoners use Uber on a regular basis and because of the convenience and safety the app has brought to the industry.

“Uber is not a traditional minicab firm so it is interesting to note that Uber was not mentioned in this poll.

“Uber keeps a record of all drivers’ insurance documents and drivers cant access the app unless they are in place.

“Uber has helped raise standards in the private hire industry by using technology to give people more information than ever before, from their driver’s details to being able to share a live map of their journey and an electronic receipt showing the route taken.”

The survey of 1,037 adults was carried out last week

source: http://www.standard.co.uk/