Senior management ‘need to answer taxi scandal questions’

South Ribble Council Civic Centre, Leyland
South Ribble Council Civic Centre, Leyland
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Questions about South Ribble Council’s taxi licensing scandal must not end now the leader has stepped down, according to Labour.

Conservative Councillor Margaret Smith resigned as leader of the council on Wednesday citing ill health, but she had been under pressure to quit over her handling of a taxi licensing investigation where two drivers were reported as sexually exploiting children.

Another driver was allowed to renew his licence despite two convictions for assaulting an autistic boy passenger.

Following the public release of a report into the failings of the licencing function, Labour now want all senior councillors and officers involved in the issue to “answer appropriate questions”.

Coun Paul Foster said: “The entire executive, both political and non-political, who have been leading the council over the past 18 months, where we have encountered some significant failings, must now be held accountable for all the decisions that have been made.”

He added: “As I said on Wednesday night, I would like all councillors to now put down their political flags and seek a coalition of like minded people who want to serve the best interests of South Ribble residents as their only focus.

“The internal politics of the Conservative group has created chaos at the council, and the new leadership must focus on the big challenges South Ribble faces.

“I have great sympathy for all those who have been affected by the council’s failing, and we have a lot of work to do to rebuild confidence and trust in the local community.

“We now have one final opportunity to work together to sort out this mess; we cannot fail, as if we do it is inexcusable.”