‘Out of area’ taxi working would be banned under Labour, Andy Burnham has said.

Mr Burnham, speaking on his regular BBC Radio Manchester ‘in the hot seat’ phone in, also said he had verbal confirmation from Louise Haigh, shadow transport minister, that the practice would be stopped.

Out of area working is where taxi drivers register with one local authority, but ply their trade in another part of the country. Many minicabs seen on Greater Manchester roads are registered in Sefton or Wolverhampton.

Our region’s leaders have tried to curb the practice with measures in the new Clean Air Zone, by ensuring only taxi drivers registered in Greater Manchester would be eligible for the clean taxi fund. That is a pot of money available to cabbies to put towards the cost of upgrading or replacing their cars to newer, cleaner models.

Also read: Bolton taxis are not always licensed by Bolton Council

Mr Burnham’s revelation on Thursday (February 1) is the first time an outright ban has been touted.

He said: “[On] out of area working — the ‘Wolverhampton Problem’ — I was in Westminster yesterday (January 31), discussing HS2 with the government, but I was also with the shadow transport secretary. 

“I got a firm commitment from the shadow transport secretary that out of area working will be stopped under a Labour government.”

Since Mr Burnham spoke on the radio on Thursday morning, a Labour spokesperson has confirmed the party will reform ‘minimum licensing standards’ to ‘address the abuse of cross-border hiring’.

A statement said: “As Labour have already outlined, we will ensure there are minimum licensing standards across local authorities, for taxi and private hire vehicles, including for the safety of passengers, to address the abuse of cross-border hiring.”

The date for the general election has not formally been set, but Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has indicated it will be held during the ‘second half’ of 2024.

More than a third of private hire taxi drivers in Greater Manchester (GM) are licensed by a council that operates around 80 miles away in Wolverhampton.

Wolverhampton Council have previously denied that it is "quicker and easier" to get a private hire licence with them, claiming applicants undergo a "strict and rigorous" process that includes a one day training course, enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks, a medical certification and a face to face English assessment.