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A taxi boss whose firm is paid £1million of taxpayers’ money to transport schoolchildren has been stripped of his licence after racking up a string of traffic offences.

Scott McMillan runs Premier Taxis and is contracted by West Lothian Council to transport 600 pupils a day to their classes.

But Police Scotland said the 43-year-old was “likely to cause a threat to public safety” after he was caught breaking road laws.

Officers found McMillan driving without insurance, using a mobile phone behind the wheel, speeding, not having a tax disc and keeping a vehicle which did not meet insurance requirements.

He also failed to attend court. The offences happened between May 2016 and April 2019.

Local authority leaders revoked the businessman’s taxi licence until 2022 at a hearing in March – despite McMillan claiming the punishment would result in his Livingston-based firm going out of business and 16 people being made unemployed.

McMillan – a director of Premier Transport Ltd – went to court to appeal against the decision, claiming his taxi firm had already been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

He added that the length of the suspension of his licence imposed by the committee was excessive.

However, sheriff Douglas Kinloch refused to overturn the council’s decision following a hearing at Livingston Sheriff Court.

He told the court: “This is a case where the appellant amassed seven convictions in a short space of time.

“A conviction for driving without insurance is generally regarded by the courts as a relatively serious offence.

“It carries a high  number of penalty points so the committee were right to be concerned about it, even though the appellant was admonished on the charge. If taxi drivers ignore road traffic laws and regulations, then it can affect the safety of their passengers.

“I can’t say that the suspension was such a severe sanction that the committee were just not entitled to impose it, especially as his taxi business will be largely unaffected.”

McMillan described the decision to uphold the ban as “diabolical”.

He said: “I had seven points on my licence so basically they saw me as unfit to hold a taxi licence. The kids we transport have additional needs.

“A lot of them are autistic so it’s the same drivers and escorts all the time. The contract has kids with Down’s syndrome and autism. They’re going to be affected if I’m not there.

“The parents are not happy. I’m the only one that can deal with these kids. They’re going to be severely upset. I’ve had parents on the phone to me already worried what is going to happen.

“I was caught speeding twice. Once at 48mph in a 30mph zone and then at 33mph in a 30mph zone and I got banned for two years. It’s diabolical.”

Road safety campaigners raised questions why it had taken so long for McMillan to be banned.

A spokeswoman for Scotland’s Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers (SCID) said: “It’s taken some time for West Lothian Council to revoke his taxi licence as it appears his road traffic convictions span some three years.

“It begs the question – what are West Lothian Council doing to ensure their funding of £1million is awarded to a company that will uphold safety as paramount in transporting children?”

A West Lothian Council spokesman said: “The limited company allows Mr McMillan to operate his business and fulfil the council contract by engaging appropriately licenced vehicles and drivers, although he cannot now be a driver himself. 

“As an operator, it is not necessary for Mr McMillan to be licensed as a driver. He can operate his business via third-party drivers provided that the requirements in relation to licensing for the vehicles driven by them, and for them personally as drivers, are in force.

“He can continue to provide services and manage contracts he is awarded.”

www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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