Plan B Funding Appeal

In this edition of UCG Campaigns Newsletter we launch our Plan B, this is an action to force TfL to behave like a regulator. The original plan A was launched in a flurry of media activity, plan A needed £600k to open a JR(Judicial Review) into the original licensing of Uber and a further £2m to see it through to the court case. Thats a lot of money in any currency, so what happened between the launch and it’s failure to raise £600k? A lot of fingers have pointed at the LTDA because they never pledged £300k some said it was because the UCG held its pledge in a separate account and would donate it directly at the end, this as explained on many occasions was because the crowd funder website took 8% of all money raised in fees, on the full £600k that is £48k. We thought that was excessive and for that reason we have polled members of the trade and we are now running our scheme in house using a separate bank account, any monies unused in this campaign will be returned to the donator pro-rata.

So where did this plan B come from? The UCG have always thought differently from the crowd. The thoughts and discussions we had many times at committee were how are they going to pull this off? I went to the original kick off meeting with reps from all trade orgs, Cab App were there, a rep from Fraser Nash (The new metrocab) were there too. Rosenblat (The chosen Law firm) explained that they believed they could get Uber's license revoked by concentrating on the decision to issue the first license to Uber back in March 2012 and by proving that that license should never have been issued, all subsequent Uber Licenses for its various services, by extension, are also void.

There’s a few unresolved questions we have to this day. To open a JR more than 3 months after a decision has been taken there needs to be evidence of continual breaches of terms/conditions or law since the decision has been taken (In this case to grant Uber a license). Uber were licensed in March 2012. The licensing authority and hence the regulator and responsible body for this decision is TfL.

So what are the grounds for this JR? Have Uber done anything wrong since they were licensed?

Lets look at the facts the way a judge would:-

Who was responsible to ensure the applicant for an operator's license (in this case Uber) met the necessary regulations? Uber or TfL? It’s not Uber's Job to check the regulator is doing their Job properly, that was Sir Peter Hendy’s Job (Now Mike Brown)

Who should have made sure they had a landline?
Who should have checked they had an office?
Who should have checked they had facilities to take pre bookings?
Who should have checked that Uber's drivers had proper background checks?
Are they using a taximeter? Not according to the courts!

What exactly was it that Plan A was going to prove? It was going to prove what a useless regulator TfL is, but how does that get Uber's license revoked? Who’s fault in the eyes of the law is this mess? We may well have and probably would have proved they should never been granted a license in the first instance, but since then Uber have passed four compliance checks. So Uber will just stand by and do nothing? No they won’t they will represent to the courts their case that will go like this…. “Your honour, we respectfully point out that Uber have complied with every request made by the regulator and licensing authority, we currently employ 30k drivers, if you revoke our license that will mean 30k jobs lost for a mistake made by the regulator not us, we have passed four compliance checks and strive to continually improve our working practices to provide efficient, modern, technologically advanced services to the public” etc etc….

The Judge is very likely to simply insist TfL do a full compliance check to ensure Uber are up to standard (whatever standard passes these days) and reissue them a new operator's license, we could have spent £2.6m and two years getting Uber's license renewed for them.

But this trade does love shooting the messenger, and this was a message no one wanted to hear. It may have worked, but honestly…. It was wishful thinking that a revoked license would stay revoked when they have Cameron and Osborne over for tea.

Some of the strong arm tactics to get people to pledge were a little over the top too…. SOme well known figures in the trade were calling people traitors for not pledging. That's not going to win any friends or further the cause.  And what if we never reached £600k and then £2.6m ? did anyone think what if we don’t get there?

An alternative… a Plan B was needed, but as I said, the trade shoots messengers and bearers of bad news, so we kept very quiet and said nothing while working in the background.

Plan B isn’t a high profile launch it on TV and tell the opposition we are coming, when and how.

Aha… but you’re telling everyone now !!! I hear the cry, well, how on earth are we going to raise the capital unless we ask?

We have spoken to political consultants with a track record, they are advising us and through necessity the details we can share must remain skeletal.

We have legal opinion being written for use in the campaign, we have non hostile journalists influential in the fields we are going to target identified, we have MPs sympathetic to our plight identified. We have lobbying and PR resources allocated to these areas. The way we blend this, when and how must remain under wraps. We have built and are continuing to build support in the house of lords.

What we can’t do is tell the enemy when and how we are going to attack, I’ve never seen a military general publishing their battle plans before a battle, and much of the tactics used remains secret for a long time afterwards. We have faith in the team we have chosen, we have been shown their successes and advised how previous battles have been fought.

To do this we need money…. Nowhere near as much as Plan A and we can give no assurances that we will win this battle, but one thing is sure, if we don’t fight this battle we have already lost it. We need £20k per month for six months, we have a review period at 6 months if it’s not working, we can try something else, you won’t see obvious battles being won or lost, this is much more subtle. So was the way Uber stole our livelihoods.

You can donate to our fund please click here…. DONATE if you can afford £20 per month, that’s fantastic, if you can afford £10 per month that’s fantastic, £5 per month too…. If you can’t afford £5 per month then our thoughts and blessings are with you.

The UCG Campaigns Team


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