ONE of Hyndburn’s biggest taxi firms has threatened to move out of the borough in the light of proposed fee increases.

Max Cabs, in Ranger Street, Accrington, said plans to raise licensing fees from £200 to £203 plus £6.70 per vehicles a year for firms with more than five cars were ‘a kick in the teeth’.

The fees hike was revealed at a council meeting on Wednesday, as councillors voted to change the borough’s taxi policy after a public consultation.

The cabinet voted to impose emissions targets on drivers, ban wrap-around advertising, and force drivers to install swivel seats for disabled passengers.

Firms with less than five cars will also see fees rise, from £200 to £227 a year, with three-year licences being made unavailable. A spokesman for Max Cabs said: “If we advertise in the paper tomorrow asking for hackney drivers from other boroughs, they will flock.”

He added: “We can move our business. We could work from Rossendale, and then they would lose revenue and control. We don’t want to do that but we can do it.”

A council report put to the cabinet on Wednesday said staff had compiled a ‘detailed record of the time’ spent dealing with taxi operators, and found larger firms such as Max Cabs took up more time.

By law, councils cannot make money from licensing fees, and deputy council leader Joan Smith said it wasn’t ‘fair for taxpayers to subsidise’ firms.

She said: “The proposals regarding the licensing fees will be published and taxi drivers will have 28 days to respond if they don’t like the fees.”