TRAFFORD Council have told taxi operators currently carrying out contracts for them that prices will need to be slashed by at least 10 per cent.

A letter has been sent out to all taxi firms affected explaining they should take the cut or face losing the contract when a new tendering process allowing firms from outside Trafford for the the first time to submit bids. It follows a ‘best value procurement review’ last year.

Firms who fail to reduce their contract prices by a ‘minimum of 10 per cent’, cannot be ‘guaranteed future business’, the letter warns.

While taxi drivers are accusing the council of bullying tactics, the council defended its stance saying it was about ensuring best value was achieved.

Corporate director for environment, transport and operations, Peter Molyneux, said: "The Council needs to ensure it is getting the best value for money out of this service, and through a competitive tendering process we can make sure this is happening.

“A letter has been issued to all of our current suppliers to inform them of this.

“In a time when all public bodies are having to make savings, we have suggested to our suppliers that they review their prices before submitting a tender so they remain competitive.

“We want to encourage local businesses to be part of this framework which could result in even further business for them."

But a taxi driver who SUM spoke to, who asked only to be identified as John, said: “At a time when costs are rising, including fuel, the council wants us pay us less. A 10 per cent cut for me on the contract I do means a £35 a week cut.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said the driver of 15 years. “It down to the government giving the council less money, and getting the council to do their dirty work. But having said that, how would they like it if their staff were given a 10 per cent cut. They’ve got the union on their side though and we’ve got no one.”

Another taxi operator who contacted Messenger under agreement of anonymity said: “I’ve had to accept the cuts. If I didn’t I would have had to let drivers go. It’s bully-boy tactics.”