WOMEN could be put at serious risk by Government taxi reform plans says Helen Jones MP.
The Warrington North MP has hit out at the proposals which would allow taxi drivers lend their vehicles to family and friends when they are off duty.
Mrs Jones said: “Earlier this year I conducted a survey amongst young women in the Warrington North constituency. Some of the results were startling, and the issue of taxis came up time and time again.”
In total 54 per cent of those surveyed expressed concerns about their safety when using taxis after a night out.
One woman said that “some taxi men make me feel uncomfortable” while one woman reported that a taxi driver had once “locked me in a car and wouldn’t let me out”.
The Labour MP added: “It is clear that the majority of taxi drivers are upstanding citizens who wouldn’t dream of doing anything to hurt or frighten a woman. Unfortunately, there are a small number whose actions have jeopardised the safety of women in this town.
“By relaxing the taxi laws, the Tory-led Government is potentially putting more women at risk. I am concerned we will see more bogus taxi drivers, using the change in law to target women when they’re on their own and, therefore, more vulnerable.”
The Government added the reform to the Deregulation Bill at the last minute and has been rejected by the Labour Party and other campaigners who believe it could be used by bogus taxi drivers to prey on women.
The survey also showed how women feel safe in Warrington as 46 per cent said they had experienced unwanted touching during a night out and 23 per cent said they had been followed.
Helen Jones, who has responsibility for violence against women in the shadow Home Office team, has called on the Government to do more to improve women’s safety.
The Labour Party has already pledged to introduce a national commissioner for domestic and sexual violence in a bid to tackle abuse aimed at women.