PLANS to cut red tape for taxi and private hire drivers have been slammed by Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner.

Clive Grunshaw has joined forces with a cross-party group of PCCs to highlight the risks associated with the new deregulation bill, which he said could put people in danger of being raped and sexually assaulted.

Only licensed private hire drivers can drive a marked private hire vehicle, and all drivers are regularly re-licensed.

But under the new bill, the government want to allow anyone to drive a private hire vehicle for their own use when the registered driver is not using the vehicle.

Mr Grunshaw said: "Residents need to be able to have confidence that when they get into a marked private hire vehicle the driver is licensed and is who they say they are.

“These new measures put everyone at risk, and with the thriving night-time economy we have in Lancashire, it is not a risk we want to take.

“I know the government does not intend to put people in danger through this bill, but I hope they take notice of the genuine concerns commissioners have."