The Council Strategic Licensing Committee has voted to permit exclusive display of the Union Jack inside Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles.
The Strategic Licensing Committee of Shropshire Council (SC) has voted to amend licensing policy to permit exclusive display of the Union Jack inside Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles, a move which, according to its own report, has a negative impact on two characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010 and goes against SC’s social inclusion policy.
The discriminatory policy was backed by Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independents; only the Green Party’s Mike Isherwood spoke out and voted against the policy change which now discriminates against every other national flag. He said: “The existing policy promoted neutrality, ensuring that members of the public who might feel uncomfortable with certain displays of nationalism, or become worried that their own nationality could make them a target, did not have to decide whether to get in the cab they need for fear of being from the ‘wrong’ country. Neither my proposal to keep this important protection nor my ‘fair-play’ amendment to allow any national flag to be displayed, for instance so that a driver could show solidarity with Ukrainian guests, was supported by any other member of the Committee. We now have a policy outlawing pairs of flags to indicate friendship between the UK and another country, yet any driver who wants to show support for nationalist extremists may do so under the pretext of business promotion”.
The decision ignores objections from members of the trade who voiced support for the previous policy which went through a full consultation process in 2022, during which there was no opposition to the ban on all flags within vehicles. One said they favoured neutrality even though proud to be British. They were there to serve “all sections of the public” and that privileging the Union Jack “could lead the public [to think] that drivers or companies are members of ultra-right nationalistic groups”.