TAXIS need higher national standards and drivers should not be able to get an 'easy ride' from councils offering second-rate licences, the taxis minister has said.

Transport Minister Nus Ghani said setting standards applicable to all councils would prevent cab drivers from obtaining a licence from a neighbouring authority with less stringent rules before plying their trade elsewhere, during a visit to Worcester.

Ms Ghani said the rule changes in 2015 which allowed cross-border hiring were not a mistake but how people used taxis and “the world had moved on.”

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She said: “My perfect scenario would have been that we had a central database that is managed centrally.

“Local authorities love running their licensing remit and there is no way I was going to remove that from them.

"The standards have to be the same. We have to be transparent. When people don’t have the right to have a licence, they should be denied it regardless of where they go.”

Ms Ghani said taxis were a “moving trade” and it was difficult to now set boundaries as it would make things very complicated.

Taxi bosses in the city have previously criticised the change in rules because it allows “every Tom, Dick and Harry" to ply their trade.

Mohammad Sajad, from Worcester Taxi Drivers Association, said Foregate Street was a "mess" and over-ranking was caused by too many taxi licences being handed out by councils outside of the city and Worcester City Council needed to carry out more enforcement.

Ms Ghani visited Unity House in Stanley Road with Conservative parliamentary candidate for Worcester Robin Walker on Thursday (November 14).

Ms Ghani said the plan to put the plan into law was due to start over the summer but had been thwarted by Brexit.

She said: “Once we have raised those standards, it means that phishing around for a quicker licence, a licence which is just easier to secure because somebody behind a desk says ‘that is fine by me, because we’re related and I know you’ or whatever, that is just not going to happen.

“The way for is to do this is to have national standards. So as a taxi driver you can’t just wake up one morning and say I’m not going to come to Worcester, I’m going to go next door, I’m going to go to Birmingham, it doesn’t matter because all the standards are going to be high.

“Once you are struck off it’s going to be kept at a central database. Nobody will have an excuse that they didn’t know.”