An Edinburgh taxi driver says licences are changing hands in the capital for £50,000, and this black market price arises purely because of the restricted market. The councils simply charge an administrative fee for the licences, typically £200 per annum or so. The NotW claims that while some are cashing in on this, "ordinary drivers, passengers and council tax payers lose out":
In Perth, a taxi driver told us one businessman owns half the city's 70 licences - with would-be cabbies having to pay £40,000 for a permit.Public safety is also a concern, with the artificial limit on taxi licences leading to higher numbers of more lightly regulated private hire cars, not to mention unlicensed taxis.
In Greenock and Port Glasgow, cabbies also face paying at least £40,000 for a Hackney plate, several of which are held by Christine Easdale - mum of convicted fraudster Sandy Easdale, 40.
Unsurprisingly, local authorities are proffering different interpretations of the rules, with Perth & Kinross saying the arrangements for the sale of licences are legitimate, but Inverclyde claims that it's illegal to sell them.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government, while acknowledging that the allegation are "serious", is effectively passing the buck and saying that anyone with any evidence should approach their local authority.