Brighton & Hove Council refuses Uber a licence saying it is not ‘fit & proper’ to hold one

uber car

Brighton Council will not renew taxi app Uber’s licence in the city because it is not a ‘fit and proper’ firm, it has announced today.

Licensing bosses said they were concerned over a mass data breach in 2016 that affected around 2.7million UK users.

The council said it was also concerned about the use of drivers from outside the local area.

It means it is the fourth city to refuse Uber a licence in recent months after London, Sheffield and York, although Sheffield council leaders later reversed their decision.

Licensing panel chair Jackie O’Quinn said: ‘Our priority is the safety of residents and visitors and, due to the data breach and the lack of commitment to using drivers licensed here, we were not satisfied that UBL (Uber Britannia Limited) are a fit and proper person to hold an operator’s licence.’

Uber has announced its intention to appeal the decision.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘This is a disappointing decision for the thousands of passengers and drivers who rely on our app in Brighton and Hove. We intend to appeal so we can continue serving the city.’

It comes months after a similar decision by Transport for London, who declined to extend Uber’s licence last year. Uber appealed and is still able to operate until a hearing takes place in the summer.

The transport authority previously found the service was not a ‘fit and proper operator’ due to its failure to report crimes carried out by its drivers.

In response Uber announced a series of new policies in the UK earlier this year, including more proactively working with police when incidents are reported and introducing a 24-hour customer support phone line.

Uber failed to initially report the cyber attack in 2016 where hackers were able to obtain the names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of passengers and drivers.

Uber’s changes also include plans to give customers, known as riders, more access to driver information – including the licensing authority and private hire number of their driver.

In February the firm’s UK general manager Tom Elvidge said: ‘With millions of trips across the UK booked through our app each week, the safety of riders and drivers using Uber is a top priority.

‘Over the last few years we’ve led the way with pioneering technology which enhances safety like GPS tracking of every trip and our two-way rating system.

‘But we recognise we can use our technology to go even further in setting a higher standard for private hire and other transport options.

‘After listening to feedback from drivers, riders, local regulators and the police we’re introducing a number of new features and changes to enhance driver and passenger safety.’

The US firm has been attempting to reshape its image under new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi after the departure of former boss Travis Kalanick and a host of other executives last year, which followed a string of scandals including claims of sexual harassment within the company and a massive data breach.