Pedicabs (London) Bill [HL] - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:40 pm on 22 November 2023.

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Photo of Lord Borwick Lord Borwick Conservative 5:40, 22 November 2023

My Lords, I, too, welcome my noble friend to his new post. He has a task to follow our excellent and long-suffering noble friend Lady Vere.

I first declare my interests as a London taxi proprietor, owner of a plated London taxi and occasional employer of licensed London taxi drivers. I drive my London taxi to the House of Lords car park and once overhead one of our great policemen saying to another, “Well at least one Lord’s got a proper job”. In the past, I have been a manufacturer, dealer and financier of London taxis, so I have quite a comprehensive list of London taxi interests, and I thoroughly support this simple Bill to enable TfL to control pedicabs. There are an awful lot of other things wrong on the streets of London, such as electric scooters abandoned on street corners, but I am not sure that there will be room in the Long Title of the Bill to put the solutions in.

To grant Transport for London the power to sort out this small, but dodgy, market for pedicabs seems eminently sensible, even though instinctively I do not like giving more powers to government, but why has it taken so long for this Bill to be introduced? My honourable friend in another place, Nickie Aiken, who is standing at the Bar, introduced a Private Member’s Bill in 2020, three years ago. Can the Minister explain why it has taken so long for the Bill to appear as a government Bill?

More importantly, this Bill is an enabling Bill, enabling TfL to bring forward regulations. When something is planned for the future, I like to identify the criterion of failure. What would make us agree that this Bill has been a success and a worthy subject for our deep consideration? Does my noble friend agree that, after three years of thought in his department, a further year is all that is needed to draft and promulgate the regulations?