Moray SNP News
SNP Councillors in Moray say that Civic License Fee payers are being let down by the Council’s Tory/Independent Administration who today, Wednesday, voted against an SNP proposed review of the Licensing processes in Moray.
In a motion proposed by SNP Councillor for Elgin City South, Graham Leadbitter, and seconded by SNP Councillor for Buckie, Sonya Warren, the council was asked to note the requirement for the Council to employ a Civic Licensing Standards Officer, which could result in a doubling of many license fees, with taxi licensing being particularly badly hit.
The SNP Councillors said it was the right time to review the whole licensing system in the Council and see how things could be improved to minimise cost and streamline the service.
The Council’s Administration refused to back even reviewing the service with the Chair of Licensing saying it ‘wasn’t the right time’ but refusing to give any indication of when a good time would be.
Speaking after the vote Councillor Graham Leadbitter said:
“This motion was a recognition that, as a result of the need to introduce the new role of Licensing Standards Officer for Civic Licensing we, are faced with significantly increased licensing fees.
“In the case of some taxi licenses that increase is more than 100% at a time when the trade faces significant challenges. Other licenses are also facing large increases.
“Quite simply I do not think it is reasonable for the council to impose such significant increases without exploring other options in full and that, for me, means a full review of the licensing system.
“If it was a tax increasing by 100% or care charges increasing by 100% we would likely consider that to be unreasonable so why would we consider that with License Fees without looking at all the options?”
Councillor Sonya Warren said:
“At a time of significant pressure for both the public and private sector it is not an acceptable position to increase licensing fees but such a huge amount to the particular detriment of our taxi trade.
“In Moray there has been no increase in fares by the Council for 5 years and other taxi related costs have been increased substantially by the Council. These latest fee proposals would make Moray one of the dearest places in Scotland to be a taxi driver.
“The SNP fully support the need for Licensing Standards Officers to improve the licensing system but to push up licensing fees by such a huge amount without reviewing the other parts of the system to streamline the process and reduce expense elsewhere is totally unfair to the customers of the Council who have no choice but to pay these fees.”
Motion to Moray Council Meeting of Wednesday 22 September 2017
Review of Moray Council’s Licensing Service
Council recognises the significant changes that have occurred in Licensing in recent years, which have come as a result of primary legislation, changes in Moray Council licensing policies and changes in demand.
Council further notes that these changes, in particular the introduction of Licensing Standards Officers, could potentially increase license fees substantially for many customers of Moray Council’s Licensing Service.
Council therefore agrees that, as a result of these significant changes in the licensing system that it is now an appropriate time to fully review both the staffing structures and processes used in the provision of Moray Council’s licensing service. Such a review should include the core service provided by Legal Services, the role of the Council’s customer service teams in both the call centre and in access points in relation to the licensing service, the licensing related work provided by Moray Council’s Environmental Health, Trading Standards & Fleet Services sections, the IT solutions currently being used and any other areas of work that the Corporate Management Team considers relevant and appropriate.
Council instructs the Corporate Management Team to conduct such a review and report back to the Council in January 2018 with appropriate recommendations, including public consultation, where that may be relevant.