TAXI drivers who lost out due to a council blunder over fare increases have claimed back only a fraction of their refunds, new figures have revealed.

Hyndburn Council faced a bill of £210,000 after saying it would pay back private hire and hackney drivers in the borough to avoid legal action, the Lancashire Telegraph reported last May.

For nine years, council chiefs failed to advertise increases in taxi licensing fees, sparking a probe and a number of disciplinary investigations into council staff.

But so far, only £9,445.66 has been refunded to 81 drivers, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.

The figures show 85 per cent of the borough’s 537 licensed drivers have yet to claim.

Owner of Accrington company Max Cabs, Talib Zaman, said he would be encouraging the firm’s 220 drivers to look at what they were owed.

He said: “We put five applications in before Christmas. Once we get them back we can make it common knowledge, and we are sure everybody else will see it works.

“The council should have given automatic refunds but they haven’t done.”

Mr Zaman said some drivers think the cost of placing their application will exceed the money they will get back. He said: “Taxi drivers don’t tend to be the most organised. The council are charging £10 for information they might need to file a claim. They should waive that fee.”

Deputy leader of Hyndburn Council, Coun Clare Pritchard, said: “We haven’t yet received claims from all affected owners and operators so the repayment figure is likely to rise.

“Information about the claim period is available on our website.”

The council is accepting claims going back a maximum of six years.

For more information about claiming a refund, or to download a claim form, visit http://tinyurl. com/ondua3d