Some fees charged to private hire and taxi operators are expected to quadruple next year.

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Licensing Committee quizzed officials about the prospect of significant increases in some fees for 2024-25.

These include a 75 per cent increase in the knowledge test fee and a route test fee that could almost double.

Changes in administration and inflation have fuelled the increase, councillors were told at a committee meeting yesterday (Thursday 12 October).

A private hire vehicle licence is expected to double from £75 to £150 – and small private hire operators face a rise of more than 300 per cent in their licence fees from £167 to £700.

Larger private hire companies, with three or more cars, face fees going up by 17.6 per cent from £595 also to £700.


Vehicle transfer fees for taxis – known as hackney carriages – could more than quadruple from £52 to £220, a 323 per cent increase. Vehicle transfer fees for private hire vehicles could almost treble from £52 to £150.

The council’s regulatory services manager Jim Whitelegg told councillors that the current fees did not cover the cost of administering the service.

He said that the council did not make a profit from licensing fees but costs had gone up and council tax payers had been subsidising the process.

Mr Whitelegg told the committee that the minimum proposed increase was 6 per cent, aimed at covering pay inflation.

He said: “The need to increase some licensing fees by more than 6 per cent is driven by the increased officer time required to administer these licences and the additional checks required.

“We do have a duty to ensure our costs are recovered and to avoid surpluses and deficits.”

Green councillor Kerry Pickett asked why some of the charges were increasing by such large percentages.

Mr Whitelegg said that fees had been “artificially low” for years and, with the increases, would still be lower than neighbouring councils.

He said that the proposed £220 a year private hire vehicle licence worked out at £2.88 a week while the charges for the knowledge test and route test did not recoup the costs of running them.

Conservative councillor Carol Theobald asked why the vehicle transfer fees were increasing.

Mr Whitelegg said that the amount of time to process transfers was the same as for a new application and would be “more realistic”.

Green group convenor councillor Steve Davis asked if the increases had gone before the trade through the Taxi Forum.

Mr Whitelegg said that the figures had been “circulated” to the trade after the most recent forum meeting to allow for feedback.