In today’s Shuttle (28/9/17), our Tory MP Mark Garnier, takes the opportunity to once again ignore the issues of his constituents, instead focusing on London matters and Uber’s licence.

Stephen Brown said “It is quite a remarkable column in support of a tax dodging multi-national found to have breached safeguarding rules and operator licensing regulations, not to mention one that has lost a court case for abusing worker rights. Indeed, Mark passes off serious sexual assaults it would seem, by its drivers, as mere ‘infringements’. Mark is basically demeaning women and their right not to be assaulted in their daily life. But then he’s one who doesn’t think marriage in all forms should be equal either. Let us not underestimate the significance of this dereliction of duty in office of a publicly elected representative in safeguarding the public, all done so he can take a political pop at the Labour Mayor of London, who incidentally did not actually make this decision, TfL did”

“This is all done by Mark in aid of serving the bidding of his Tory masters, and political point scoring. One might ask the question of Mark, where’s his support for those multitude of small taxi businesses and properly trained self-employed taxi drivers in London who follow the rules and pay tax without resorting to a race to the bottom? A recent business survey of Uber found 51% of its drivers worldwide work part time, less than 15 hours per week, and earn less than £300 per month, although there are no equivalent stats for London as these figures include London. The point is they undercut the competition, so drivers earn less than competitors, probably pay less or no tax, and Uber squirrels away it’s 25% commission profit offshore to avoid tax. It’s an international shark operation designed to kill competition, it is not simply a tech platform. That Mark doesn’t understand that as he swans around the world talking about Shrimp exports in Ecuador is revealing in itself. You can’t compare CD to digital sales and artist rights to what Uber is up to. Is Mark ‘really’ that stupid? What the Tories want is a low wage, low regulation economy and we know where that ends up – just ask anyone who lived in Grenfell”.

Stephen’s full response in The Shuttle comments and to The Shuttle is below.

However, it remains to be seen whether the media pick this up and treat it with the seriousness and significance it deserves given it affirms what we know about Mark, his Party, and no doubt the CCHQ message being circulated to all of its lapdog, uncaring, unthinking MP’s who don’t think women deserve protection from assault. Business as usual for the Tories then post the election, especially now that they have their unsavoury DUP guard dogs watching their backs in Parliament:

Stephen Brown comments in The Shuttle on Garnier’s Uber comments:

“What a shocking column, and you may ask, again, what’s this got to do with Wyre Forest? Mark’s certainly well and truly sitting comfortably in that London elitist bubble ain’t he.

So, again, Mark uses his regular column to preach yet more CCHQ propaganda as fact, this time taking a pop at Sadiq Khan, Labour London Mayor, and in the process defend the interests and practices of a huge tax dodging multinational business. This is Mark showing his true colours, he really should think harder before spouting this nonsense, but maybe he doesn’t care, after all he’s safe as MP for a couple more years isn’t he.

Let’s get a few things straight here Mark. 40,000 workers have not lost their jobs, Uber has appeal time, all it has to do is comply with every regulation every other taxi business has to abide by. They could also work for a different law abiding firm because if the business is there other cab firms have said they will take such people on. Indeed, there exists an alternative app too, and being improved, that has more regularised rules of compliance.

Uber is a tax dodging Goliath on the international stage, it is not just a tech app company. It is an employer, and it abuses the law to avoid its worker obligations by practising false self employment, and in case you hadn’t been keeping up, it lost a court case about it. It also uses its global power to subsidise fares charging a whopping 25% commission to its drivers making them dependent on them in a form of financial usery. That’s why, with its subsidy on fares, it can undercut other business. It’s model is to seek and destroy competition. If it cared for its ‘workers’ it would not be advocating for driverless cabs in London either.

You may also want to look up the incidents of sexual assault committed by Uber drivers in London and importantly how Uber tried to hide that fact to stop it affecting its business. Are you seriously suggesting Mark that these are mere ‘infringements’ notwithstanding the employment law cases that because of technology are deserving of less serious status? And of course, there’s the the tax dodging on an industrial scale.

I told you weeks ago that Uber also manages to circumvent local licensing rules outside of London that safeguard passengers. That could happen here in Wyre Forest. It can use drivers of cabs who may have been denied a licence in one town, and for very good reasons, who then get a licence because of system failures elsewhere in another town, and come back to ply their trade in the town they had their licence revoked in. Uber knows this but uses it to undercut local drivers and takes no responsibility because of their business model of self employment to flout the rules. No other business does this or is allowed to. A loophole in the law that needs fixing.

That our MP chooses this topic in the middle if it’s own Brexit shambles and concerns by ordinary people about their future is staggering but sadly not surprising. Mark once again sides with corporate interests in a way that is an insult not only to the safety of Londoners, but to the concerns of his own constituents. So what if Londoners have raised a petition to save their own access to cheap fares? It says more about how they are struggling to make ends meet, like many of us, and the media has cynically tapped into this to attack the Mayor, aided and abetted by uncritical thinkers like Mark, to their own ends. I’d say people should be more interested in public safety, workers rights, and earning a decent living. This race to the bottom has to stop, as does support for it. Only then will we see wages and living standards improve. The gig economy is not something the UK should be proud of but it is what the Tories have made, and they’ll do their utmost to protect it, including putting safety at risk and cosying up to tax dodging, safety flouting, workers rights abusing multinationals. Take that as a warning about post Brexit Tory Britain. This is not about technology changes it’s about good old fashioned capitalism and abuse of people to earn a profit. At least we know where Mark stands on this, and it’s not on your side”.

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