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Addison Lee Donation Stirs Up a Row in Parliament

Addison Lee Donation Stirs Up a Row in Parliament

_74525157_johngriffinA £500,000 donation made by Addison Lee chairman John Griffin to the Conservatives may have influenced the government's stance on taxi policy. Ministers have ruled that taxi checks are no longer carried out annually but every three years, giving taxi and private hire firms like Addison Lee more leeway in many different areas. Addison Lee 'categorically' denies using a donation in order to influence government decisions, claiming the sum to simply be a goodwill gesture. A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: "This is a bizarre claim, perhaps based on a misunderstanding of the proposals, which apply only to taxi and private hire services outside London. 'They would therefore have no impact on Addison Lee's operations, which are within London. 'We believe our proposals will have a discernable and beneficial effect on the taxi and private hire trade and for passengers.' Ms Lucas of the Green party has been particularly vocal on this matter, refusing to believe that this story is corruption free. Talking at Westminster Hall Ms Lucas was sceptical over why such "potentially dangerous" changes were being "rushed through". "We know there's good money to be made from the taxi and private hire vehicle or minicab industry," she said. "Addison Lee have made so much of it that they're actually giving it away in large quantities to the Conservative Party. "Are we really supposed to believe that Addison Lee has had no influence on the move to push amendments through before the publication of the Law Commission's in depth review?" Mr Griffin, she claimed, was "clearly a man with a potential political agenda". "I think we cannot help but ask ourselves what might he want back in return for his large donation." Seeing this exchange of money as politically loaded Ms Lucas feels that Addison Lee have bribed the government, using them to alter the way in which the industry can operate. One does have to think where this money is actually coming from and of what power can it stand for. After learning that Addison Lee as a company did not make the donation but John Giffin himself, does this still have a political agenda? Mr Griffin donated £500,000 to the Conservatives in July 2013 while Addison Lee as a company donated £254,045 to the party between December 2008 and September 2011. Addison Lee said Mr Griffin had made his donations to the Conservatives "in a personal capacity". Even if this healthy donation was carried out for personal reasoning Addison Lee have not shied away from discussing the fact that taxi and private legislation in is need of a review. 'Whilst Addison Lee believes a review of the current UK taxi and private hire laws is long overdue, we can categorically confirm that none of our staff or directors has attempted to influence any early amendments to this legislation,' a spokesman for the firm said. 'We welcome the chance to have our say when the Law Commission publishes its review.' Deregulation Bill includes a ban on ordinary licence holders driving a private hire taxi when it is off-duty. However firms will be able to subcontract work in the coming years. Transport Minister Stephen Hammond told MPs the decision to include new laws in the Deregulation Bill was 'pragmatic' and would allow 'immediate progress' to be made. We can see that there are some pretty passionate opinions on this subject but what do you think? Leave us with your thoughts.

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