November 29, 2013
Denise Said, of Newton Abbot, Devon, will continue her battle to be allowed to display a St George’s Cross sticker on her hackney cab. Het pledge came after Teignbridge Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee announced she must remove the sign or risk having her taxi license revoked.
Mrs. Said, a cab driver of 12 years, initially displayed the sticker after being asked by a tourist if she was local to the town. She felt that it would be helpful for tourists to know who would be best placed to give directions and local information.
Speaking in defense of the committee’s decision to ban the national emblem, Councillor Klinkenberg commented: “Anyone who works, sets up a business or is employed as a taxi driver would obviously be living here and they would, presumably, drive in the area and get to know it.
“As such they could also be considered as local drivers irrespective of where they had come from.”
During the debate, Councillor Beryl Austen asked Mrs. Said: “Could any resident locally, whether English or not, display the sign?”
Mrs Said answered: “I don’t see why not.”
Licensing officer, Hayley Carpenter, added that she felt the problem stemmed more from the wording on the flag rather than the flag itself.
Ms. Carpenter said: “This is not about the St George’s flag, it’s about the combination of the flag with the words ‘local driver’ across it that could be saying ‘British driver’.”
No Cause of Offence
Mrs. Said expressed that she will continue to display the flag and is prepared to take Teignbridge Council to the magistrates court if need be.
She vowed: “The stickers are staying on the car and I’ll do my best to appeal the decision. They’re not derogatory and don’t offend anyone.”
The appeals committee discussed the case for 50 minutes before deciding that the stickers did not comply with the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing policy or with the Equality Act 2010.