TAXI drivers are furious at having to fork out for long licences as they approach retirement.

In the latest dispute between Barrow’s taxi trade and council, drivers say they should be allowed to be on a one-year licence to take them towards retirement, something not currently offered by licensing bosses.

They are urging the council to change the policy.

Barrow Borough Council bosses said a consultation is currently under way to look at taxi policy providing an opportunity for drivers to make themselves heard.

Taxi driver George Harkin said: “We have an ageing taxi driver community of which some are planning their retirement dates and I have been approached by some of the taxi drivers that have asked the licensing authority for a one year taxi licence due to them retiring within the year.

“The licensing authority has refused - adding unnecessary costs to them.

“I believe it is reasonable for the licensing authority to show respect, fairness and equality to these long serving drivers and for the licensing authority to use good practice and common sense to issue one year taxi driver licences.”

Cllr Tony Callister, spokesman for licensing and public protection, said: “It is a legal requirement for all drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles to obtain a licence to operate.

“This is to ensure the safety of passengers and other road users.

“Since 2015, licenses are granted for a period of three years which is not only good value for drivers, but offers them a more streamlined and efficient application and approval process.

“A phased implementation was introduced and our current policy is to issue three year licences, in the absence of any other limitation that would cause the Council to issue a shorter duration licence.

“It is also in line with many other local authorities across the country which have already adopted this process.”

A three-year licence costs £309. A one-year licence for private hire cars costs £168 and £189 for a Hackney Carriage licence.