Cabbies in Welwyn Hatfield, up in arms over rival firm Uber, have taken their fight to MP Grant Shapps.

Licenced drivers in the borough claim they are not operating “on a level playing field”.

Drivers from Hatfield-based AAA Taxis met with Mr Shapps to explain their grievances.

They told him that because they operated under different rules to Uber they were forced to charge more as their overheads were higher.

Mr Shapps said: “As a frequent user of AAA taxis, I was very pleased to meet with local taxi drivers and listen to the issues that are currently facing.

“While I support the idea of fair competition it is clear Welwyn Hatfield drivers are at a considerable disadvantage compared to neighbouring drivers and companies such as Uber or Addison Lee.

“I have written to Welwyn Hatfield Council to see what can be done to make it fair and level playing field for local taxis.  I will, also, be writing to the minister for taxis to raise my concerns with him.”

Uber drivers and other Hackney carriage license holders are governed by different rules. Which among other things, claim local drivers, it means they have to have newer, and so more expensive, cars.

A spokesperson from the AAA taxis said:

“We really appreciate Grant taking the time to listen to the concerns of our drivers. AAA have sent representatives to speak to Welwyn Hatfield Licensing officers about  the fact that  local drivers were choosing to license with other Local Authorities due to cost and asked Welwyn Hatfield to review their policies and keep costs and conditions competitive with other areas in order maintain the number of drivers licensing locally.

“We hope that progress can be made on this issue at the national and local level to protect our drivers.”

Following his meeting with AAA Taxis drivers, a spokesman from Welwyn Hatfield Council told Mr Shapps: “The Hackney carriage terms and conditions are currently under review.

“As for Uber it is a national problem and one that we have tried to address. Working alongside Uber we have created ‘blackout spots’ within the borough which prevents the App being used either by passenger or driver. These include both railway stations, WGC town centre and both university sites.”