Letter to Editor: On Harlow Council leader and taxi drivers: “Sometimes you have to tell people that you can’t do anything for what ever reason”

Politics / Sat 2nd Mar 2024 at 11:04am

Dear Editor,

AS per public questions at the last full council meeting it seems that Cllr Swords does not behave like a councillor or leader and basically has put two fingers up to everyone in the trade and includes the passenger safety for every resident of Harlow.

One of my questions at last week’s meeting was to ask why Cllr Swords hadn’t answered an email dated 2nd January 2024 which contained 20 questions from Harlow Hackney carriage drivers and also private hire drivers.

Once I had sent this email he responded saying the email would be answered in full by the 6th January.

Cllr Swords response at last week’s full council was that this email would be answered within five days.

He never said 5 working days but just 5 days. Having given him the benefit of the doubt i have allowed for working days. I then asked a supplementary question of which he once again replied he would answer within the next 5 days.

It’s a little bit like a question that was raised in September where he stated in Full Council it would be rectified within 2 weeks as of today’s date there has been no movement on this what so ever.

Well what a surprise he has let down the Hackney carriage and private hire drivers once again.
Does he think he can do what he wants and say what he wants in relation to people’s livelihoods?

Cllr Swords has no morals what so ever and I’ll go as far to say he has spoken untruths and has let down a lot of drivers who are trying to provide for their families.

If he’s not up to the job then resign and take Cllr Churchill with him.

People become councillors to help people and make the town a better place.

Sometimes you have to tell people that you can’t do anything for what ever reason but Cllr Swords has made many statements throughout the last six months of meetings which none have come anywhere to being a reality nor any thing close. He seemed to think that he would say what we wanted to hear and we would shut up and go away, how wrong he is, political stunts promising the world and delivering nothing costs votes.

Positivity creates growth, negativity creates a loss, the leader and the council seems to be proactively showing small business such as Hackney carriage and private hire drivers do not feature on the radar for council objectives( no photo opportunities)

I’m sure the private hire drivers and Hackney carriage drivers will send Cllr Swords and his party a clear message at the ballot box come May, how perplexed they really are.

Lee Dangerfield
(Private hire driver)


Questions and Answers from Feb 22nd Harlow Council meeting

Lee Dangerfield to Councillor Dan Swords (Leader of the Council):

At the cabinet meeting last week, a question was asked in relation to the
amount of checks that have taken place on Hackney Carriage and private hire
vehicles which includes vehicles from other areas. Can I have a breakdown of
the total amount of vehicles over the last year month by month including
Epping Forest, Uttlesford, Wolverhampton and Uber?

Reply from Councillor Dan Swords (Leader of the Council):
I have been provided with the figures from February 2023.
These figures only include Harlow licenced vehicles as even when there is a
joint operation with another council, that would keep their own inspection
Harlow’s licensing team have carried out the following number of vehicle
checks in the last 12 months:
February 23 – 2
March 23 – 2
April 23 – 2
May 23 – 6
June 23 – 6
July 23 – 2
August 23 – 4
September 23 – 15
October 23– 14
November 23 – 29
January 24-1
Feb 24 – checks due to take place in next few days.

As Mr Dangerfield knows, these figures are below the numbers I would
expect and have committed to seeing. I apologise for this and I will ensure
that swift action is taken to get these figures up to the level he and I would

Lee Dangerfield to Councillor Dan Swords (Leader of the Council):
On the 31st of December 2023, I emailed you, informing you that I would be
emailing him on the 2nd January 2024 with a list of questions that are
outstanding, that was duly sent on that date with a response from you saying
you would respond in full by the 6th. Can you please explain to me and the
whole Hackney carriage and Private Hire trade why we are still awaiting that
full response?

Reply from Councillor Dan Swords (Leader of the Council):

I apologise that the response has not been forthcoming. A full response will
be provided within the next five working days.

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9 Comments for Letter to Editor: On Harlow Council leader and taxi drivers: “Sometimes you have to tell people that you can’t do anything for what ever reason”:

2024-03-02 11:46:09

Words and promises are absolutely meaningless without the following up of action. If they can't be actioned, then an explanation as to why not is the very minimum.

2024-03-02 12:05:11

Like the last 14 years of conservative government everything is hot air a empty promises..we need to start judging politicians on actions

Alderman Durcan
2024-03-03 11:25:56

It’s interesting that the Tory spin gang haven’t come out to defend the leader over this issue. The lack of defence might indicate…..

2024-03-03 13:36:14

Cllr Durcan, Even the highest members of the party cannot defend it because its all true. The leader Cllr Swords told us many untruths and now can't get out of it. Everything he said was to make our ears prick up but his delivery was like a pigeon who's lost its GPS and is free falling from 1000 feet. He clearly can't communicate then tells untruths to make us listen again. This is people's livelihoods and the fact he doesn't care doest warrant the post he holds, that coupled with a chair of licensing that his attendance is so poor my attendance is better than his. The chair of the licensing Committee even had the cheek to state "my licensing team" what a joke when he doesn't attend meetings. Within his stupid rant claiming that payments were the same as Wolverhampton i was told we would get an total apology within 48 hours.... That was in September and I'm still waiting. We was also told that there was a total investigation in the department and consultation would start 6 months ago. Still waiting......

Matthew Durham
2024-03-03 14:19:48

Safety of drivers and passengers? What about taxi drivers parking and abandoning their vehicles whilst parked on double yellow lines on paringdon Rd? I have photo evidence. Blocking peoples drives on the maples aswell? Could I suggest you follow the laws of the road and start from there?

2024-03-03 15:02:16

I would say that's for the mosque, that has nothing to do with private hire drivers on the road. They wont have passengers at that point Take that up with the police and the council.

2024-03-03 16:41:25

Councillor swords has been promising the world to our face but in typical Councillor style does the complete opposite when we are not around.

2024-03-03 17:30:07

Mark. you are correct , but ditto Chris Vince. He needs to look in a dictionary to see what the word budget means.

Frustrated Taxi Driver
2024-03-04 06:07:43

Unfortunately the Hackney Carriage trade was hopeful mr swords was a man of his word. We have had many seemingly positive meetings with him and brought some serious issues to light. All of which seem to have been pushed aside. Even when challenged at council meetings over thease issues and he has admitted fault still nothing happens. Hopeful he will read these comments and act upon the things he needs to. As always we are hopeful for change and a positive outcome.

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