Wakefield’s would be taxi drivers failing English and maths tests

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Nearly two thirds of people applying to become private hire and hackney carriage drivers are failing the required maths and English tests.

Since April last year, candidates have been asked to take numeracy and literacy tests before they are granted their licence.

And a Wakefield Council licensing report has revealed that only 49 candidates out of 135 had passed the tests so far.

The report said taxi trade representatives had urged the council to scrap the tests for candidates who hold recognised qualifications, such as GCSEs and A Levels.

They have argued that those candidates should only be required to pass the ‘knowledge test’, which is currently stage two of the testing system and is only set once the would-be driver has passed their maths and English.

But the report said: “On the face of it, this seems reasonable, however, there are a number of concerns specifically relating to defining equivalency and perhaps more importantly, the authenticity of the qualification and whether it has been awarded to that applicant and how this would be verified.”

The ‘knowledge test’ consists of a 45 minute presentation, followed by 50 randomly-selected questions.

And just 25 out of 47 have passed since it was introduced last year.

At a meeting last week, the licensing and regulatory committee said the testing system was working to promote “safe tourism”.

And the report added: “When granting a licence, the council must be satisfied that the applicant is ‘a fit and proper person’ to hold such a licence.

“The purpose of licensing private hire and hackney carriage drivers is to ensure the safety of the travelling public and other road users.”

Candidates are charged £25 for the tests, which ensures that there are safeguards against fraud.

The report added: “To date, one applicant has attempted to submit fraudulent certificates and is currently subject to legal action.”