I do not know the ins and outs of what was a Treasury initiative in the actions IDS has taken and what was not. But his explanation does ring true, because making others carry the can for unpleasant policies conceived by the Treasury is classic Osbo behaviour.According to IDS, he wanted a consultation first, reports The Spectator, but the Treasury presented ESA cuts as a fait accompli.
Osbo clashed with Boris over Uber, a multinational adored by George. Rachel Whetstone, head of Uber PR, is the wife of Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s ex-spin doctor. Uber fares are ostensibly cheap, but their drivers pay 25% to Uber, out of a meagre wage that is less than the minimum wage. That cheap fare is not cheap, it is bolstered up with tax credits.
Uber boss Travis Kalanick is an Osbo buddy and for his sake, Osbo was prepared to allow minicabs off all safety regulations. This has meant a huge rise in rapes/assaults. It has also meant that minicabs licences are given to unsuitable, even dangerous people.
An LBC investigation showed how easy it is to get hold of a minicab licence. This has huge safety implications for the public.
When black cab drivers pointed out to Transport for London that rapes and accidents were on the increase, the verdict came back, presumably from Osbo, Keep this from the public, it will stop people using private hire vehicles.
Boris did not agree any minicab should avoid safety regs. He also was keen to cap their numbers. So adamant was his refusal, Osbo took the entire issue out of his hands, as he legally can, through the Secretary of State.
Boris has never wanted to ban Uber. He just wanted them to play fair and abide by the rules. Black cabs do not fix their own fares. Their fares are fixed by TfL, now under the control of Osborne.
Osbo is quite deliberately and cynically trying to kill off the black cab trade, by flooding London with minicabs. Black cabs, who have loyally served London since the days of Oliver Cromwell, have just won the prize for the best international taxi service for the sixth time.
The Tories won the last election on their pledge to protect the working man. Never has that pledge been more shamefully betrayed than in George Osborne’s deliberate destruction of the black cab trade.