Taxi firm boss backs Welwyn Hatfield Times’ FOI request

A TAXI boss has backed the WHT’s Freedom of Information request against Welwyn Hatfield Council.

The Information Commissioner is currently investigating a complaint made by this paper about taxi driver hearings that are held behind closed doors.

As we revealed last month, we are seeking information from the council about the reasons why a number of taxi drivers have had their licences turned down or revoked.

Our fight has been backed by the Newspaper Society.

And this week, the owner of a Times Territory taxi firm added his voice.

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Airport Taxis boss Andrew Musk, who is also a member of the National Private Hire Association, said the press and the public should be entitled to attend the meetings, in the same way they can attend court hearings.

He said: “I don’t see why you can’t attend.

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“The council like to sweep a lot under the carpet.

“If they behave wrongly the public don’t get to know.

“The council use it to bury the fact they make so many mistakes.”

A Welwyn Hatfield Council spokesman said: “The Information Commissioner approached the council for information relating to the complaint made by the WHT.

“All the information was duly sent on July 1, within the 20-day deadline given. We are currently awaiting the outcome of the Commissioner’s decision.”

And the spokesman reiterated the council’s stance to keep details of such meetings away from public consumption.

He said: “The reason why cases are considered under part two of this committee is due to the Local Government Act 1972.

“This stipulates that any likely disclosure of confidential information, including personal information, individual identity and private financial or business information, is exempt from the press or public on the grounds that the public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.”

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