Taxis in Brighton and Hove will be fitted with CCTV - at a cost of £700 for every driver.

Council bosses have insisted the vehicles are fitted with the cameras by 2012.

The cameras, which will record images and possibly sound, are being fitted after complaints that a minority of drivers were shunning disabled passengers.

They will be installed when existing hackney carriage licenses come up for renewal next year.

Andy Cheeseman, managing director of City Cabs, supported the move but said he believed some operators could struggle to meet costs in the current economic climate.

He added: “Unlike buses, taxis are not subsidised. Everything has to be paid by the driver through the fares they earn.

“I support the idea of CCTV but at a time when finances are stretched mortgages and rents must come first. It should be introduced over a period of time.”

But some drivers have claimed the cameras will even record passengers’ conversations and could breach data protections rules.