Mayor at centre of Christmas Day taxi ‘rip off’ claim agrees he took small payment to take woman to Peterborough Hospital

Mayor Michael Hill

Mayor Michael Hill - Credit: Archant

A town and district councillor - and taxi drivers’ leaders’ - says he has found out that the Wisbech mayor took payment for driving a friend to hospital on Christmas Day.

Dave Patrick.

Dave Patrick. - Credit: Archant

The mayor of Wisbech ­apologised to Cllr Dave Patrick for claiming cabbies charged “rip-off” prices on Christmas Day during a speech made to colleagues in the first town council meeting after the festive break.

Councillor Mayor Michael Hill said it was not intended as a personal attack and had merely been a “brain not engaged moment.”

During the first meeting of town council he told how he took a woman to Peterborough Hospital on Christmas Day to visit her husband, who suffers from dementia, because the taxi fare was a “rip off.”

He accepted a small amount of money for fuel as she insisted he take it and he felt rude not doing so.

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But taxi drivers’ leader – Dave Patrick said: “The mayor told us what he had been up to over Christmas including a charitable story about taking a woman to hospital on Christmas Day.

“Turns out it wasn’t an act of charity it was a favour for a family friend who he took money from which makes it very different.”

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Cllr Hill said: “I made the comment as the taxi price shocked me. It was not a direct insult to Cllr Patrick.

“I was just surprised at how much it cost.”

The price had been quoted at around £60 each way - a total of £120.

A Fenland District Council spokesman said: for bank holidays, including Christmas Day, it is £6.60 for the first mile and 40p for every one tenth of a mile after that.

“These are double the normal rates. The licensing committee agreed these fees in April 2012.”

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