Scots provost taxi driver’s firm picks up £3m in contacts from council he represents – Daily Record

A provost is working as a taxi driver for a group that’s made millions of pounds from the council he represents.

Councillor Alan Brown was made provost of East Dunbartonshire Council in 2017 – since then his cab firm has had more than £3million of council contracts.

The Tory councillor is one of an estimated 20 drivers for East Dunbartonshire Taxi Operator and Drivers Association (EDTODA).

The cab partnership was set up to deal only with council contracts and members of the public can’t contact them.

The Sunday Mail can reveal that since 2017 – when Brown was made provost – EDTODA has seen its annual share of council contracts increase by 50 per cent.

(Image: Ayrshire Post)

Last year, the firm won £712,000 of the council’s £3million taxi contracts.

In 2016-17 its awards were £457,000 – a rise of more than £250,000 in the past five years.

Another 13 firms share the rest of the council awards.

Councillor Brown has denied any wrongdoing and said the contracts were negotiated without his help.

But sources say it’s left taxi firms who missed out on the lucrative work unhappy.

An insider said: “You see Councillor Brown going in and out of special needs schools dropping off kids.

Provost Alan Brown
(Image: UGC)

“EDTODA is made up of black cab drivers who used to sit at the rank in Bishopbriggs at all hours.

“Now they are working much better hours for the council.

“The council work is a considerable amount of money and very appealing for other drivers who usually need to work around the clock.

“EDTODA drivers didn’t have the money worries other taxi drivers had during lockdown.

“Even when some drivers were giving up due to dire finances, the contracts kept ticking over for them.”

Did you know you can keep up to date with the latest news by signing up to our daily newsletter?

We send a morning and lunchtime newsletter covering the latest headlines every day.

We also send coronavirus updates at 5pm on weekdays, and a round up of the week’s must-read stories on Sunday afternoons.

Signing up is simple, easy and free.

You can pop your email address into the sign up box above, hit Subscribe and we’ll do the rest.

Alternatively, you can sign up and check out the rest of our newsletters here.

SNP councillor for Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire, Jim Gibbons, said: “The awarding of contracts is very thorough with the council awarding the best company to do the work.

“However, the size of the awards to EDTODA and size of increase is surprising.”

Covid has hit the taxi industry hard with many of Scotland’s 37,000 cab drivers quitting.

In 2020, union officials claimed some black cab drivers were working 12 hours a day for just £40.

The union Unite has called for each taxi driver to be given a £10,000 grant because of Covid.

Councillor Brown, who gets paid £27,000 a year as East Dunbartonshire Council’s civic head, said: “There’s 20 drivers working for EDTODA.

“The contracts are for transporting adults and children with special needs.

“The rise is just coincidence as far as I’m concerned. I don’t even see the paperwork.

“When I’m working as a councillor at meetings and the taxi industry gets brought up in official business I have to leave the room.

“The lowest price tendered gets the contract and I’m not involved in that.

“I take nothing to do with it deliberately. I get no money from the council, EDTODA gets money from the council and they pay me.

“The council changed the rules two or three years ago, which meant only licenced taxi drivers and firms could get contracts and that’s the reason our work has gone up.

“That was decided for public safety issues.”

The council said the contracts were for transporting vulnerable adults and children for its education and social care departments.

Council depute chief executive Ann Davie said: “The contract with EDTODA was let in the same way as other taxi contracts, following a procurement process.”

Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – Sign up to our daily newsletter here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *