Law Commission Recommends Licensing Exception for Wedding and Funeral Vehicles

20th April 2013. Taxi & Private Hire

Law Commission Interim Statement

In July 2011 the Law Commission was tasked to review the complex legislative basis that regulates the operation of Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles, their drivers and operators (confined to England and Wales). It is not normal practice for the Law Commission to publish any indication of its preferred policy midway through
the process but there were more than 3000 responses, many showing understandable concern at the outline proposals issued when the consultation was launched in May 2012. This is why the Commission decided to depart from normal procedure and publish their thinking at this interim stage. They stressed that the interim statement is not the final report. They have yet to analyse in depth all the responses received and will continue to develop policies alongside Parliamentary counsel etc. They make it clear that the final report may differ in approach. This will then be submitted to Government and have to progress through parliamentary scrutiny.

Paragraph 9 of the statement is quoted here without amendment:

‘We
recommend that wedding and funeral cars should continue to be exempted from
licensing. Our provisional recommendation in respect of the wedding and funeral
car exemption raised unparalleled concern among members of these trades
although licensing authorities and the police agreed that that the current
exemption could cause problems. On balance, we have concluded that there are
valid arguments to keep the exclusion from licensing in primary legislation
.’

The FBHVC deliberately limited its consultation response to the proposal that wedding and funeral cars(specifically excluded from existing control) should cease to be exempt in the future and be classed alongside PHVs. We are fully aware that a significant minority of historic vehicle owners occasionally hire
their cherished possession for weddings (plus a much smaller funeral sector) mainly to defray escalating running and restoration costs. There are also a number of small commercial concerns which have blossomed over the last thirty years now that the public’s genuine interest has grown and they appreciated the UK’s road transport heritage.

The Government also responded to the consultation and paragraph 15 of their submission is also shown unaltered:

"We do not consider that there is a case for requiring the licensing of wedding and funeral services though there may be a case for bringing certain categories into the licensing regime and then immediately exempting them, in the way, for example, that food is within the VAT regime but zero rated.’

The Federation will continue to monitor this topic to ensure the existing rights of historic vehicle owners, but it would appear at this stage that our efforts, along with others, have been successful.