Angry taxi bosses are threatening to re-licence their vehicles outside of Hyndburn after the council announced plans for fee increases.
Accrington-based Max Cabs, which operates a fleet of more than 200 taxis, said the changes would increase their costs by nearly £2,000 a year.
Under the proposals to increase licensing fees, firms with more than five vehicles will see licensing charges rise from £200 to £209.70 per vehicle each year.
Hyndburn Council announced the plans at a cabinet meeting last week saying they were needed to make sure the council ‘broke even’ on admin costs.
Talib Zaman, owner of Max Cabs, branded the changes ‘sneaky’ and said they can easily avoid the new fees.
He said: “We will stay here but simply hire drivers from all over the North West and that way it will cost us nothing.
“The council will lose all their revenue. If they force us down that road then they will have no control over our fleet.
“They will force people to register their vehicles outside of the borough.
“We are not doing it to be nasty, but we will have to do it from a business standpoint as it will cost us a lot of money.”
Under the plans firms with less than five vehicles will see fees rise from £200 to £227 per vehicle each year.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said the council would not make a ‘single penny profit’ out of the increases.
He told the cabinet meeting last week: “We are simply covering the costs. We are not prepared to subsidise the staff time encompassed in issuing licences by the general taxpayer.
“The accusation of this being sneaked in the back door is wrong as you will have the opportunity through consultation.”
Jane Ellis, executive director for legal and democratic services, said the fees will soon be advertised and firms will have 28 days to respond.
She told the meeting: “We have spent a lot of time costing that and we will spend a lot more time processing the operators licenses for the larger firms and a lot less on the smaller ones.
“This is fairer and it actually reflects the costs we would incur.
“We are very confident we can justify this as being part and parcel of the cost of the licence.”
The Observer reported in April how wide-ranging proposals have been put forward meaning vehicles will undergo stricter tests and have better safety and carbon emission rates.
Age limits of on taxis and private hire vehicles will be scrapped and a crackdown on vehicle signage and swivel seats will also be introduced as part of the scheme.
Taxis will need to meet strict European Union emission targets by 2017 and there will be a ban on wrap around and door panel advertising.