AN MP organised a debate in Parliament to raise concerns about proposed changes to taxi rules.
Grahame Morris, Easington’s Labour MP, said he fears the Government regulations could put passengers at risk.
The Government is proposing three new clauses to exiting legislation for private hire taxis which would allow non licence holders, such as family members, to drive a cab when it is not being used.
Minicab operators would also be able to subcontract bookings to other operators in a different district, without the passenger being aware.
Mr Morris, said: “I do not want their status and prestige to be undermined by unlicensed taxis and the potential consequences of rushing this ill-thought-through legislation through Parliament.
“There are dangers, not only to the trade, but to the safety of the travelling public.
“My concern is that new clause 8 would increase the number of unlicensed drivers pretending to be legitimate and make the enforcement process against the illegal use of licensed vehicles almost impossible.
“Far from increasing employment opportunities, as has been suggested, the contracting-out clause, which is the most damaging, is likely to dilute and drive down earnings if drivers are subcontracted in from neighbouring areas at a lower rate. That would be bad for the taxi drivers as well.”
Ministers say the proposals are designed to cut down on red tape.