A Carlisle taxi driver has called for a cap on the number of licences being issued, as he says too many are struggling to make ends meet.

Trade in the past 10 years has halved and many drivers are earning less than the minimum wage, said Chris Bray.

He has asked Carlisle City Council to limit the number of Hackney Carriage Vehicle licences being issued and warned the situation is 'no longer tenable'.

In a letter to the council, Mr Bray said: "Trade in the last 10 years has halved as people use taxis less because people's habits have changed and nightlife is nowhere near what it used to be.

"Many taxi drivers and private hire drivers are now earning less than minimum wage as a result of Carlisle City Council issuing licences to anyone that fits the criterium which makes the situation no longer tenable.

"Too many drivers are doing too many hours to make ends meet which in turn creates dangerous driving habits, fatigue and tiredness."

He added: "Cherry picking on the taxi ranks is commonplace now as some drivers will not move off the rank if the job is short."

The letter concluded: "The only people that can right this problem and put people back on an even keel minimum wage plus are the regulatory panel."

A report into the issue is set to be considered by the council's regulatory panel at a meeting next Wednesday.

Members will have to decide whether to commission a survey to assess unmet demand for hackney carriages within the district.

The panel report includes a survey undertaken with hackney carriage proprietors to gauge their support for the request and the willingness to fund the demand survey, which would cost them approximately £20 each a year.

The council approached all 132 hackney carriage proprietors and 28 responded.

Nineteen supported a survey being carried out and the same number were willing to pay the necessary fee.

They were also asked: if the panel indicated they would be unlikely to limit licences whatever the result of a demand survey, would they still like it to be carried out?

Twelve said yes, 16 said no.

Some drivers surveyed by the council agreed with Mr Bray, that there were too many taxis in the city.

Others said there were not enough some evenings and also on busy weekends.

In the report, officers point out: "The Department for Transport’s 'Best Practice Guidance' does not recommend quantity restrictions."

They recommend members consider the options: to instruct the licensing manager to commission an unmet demand survey and report the findings back to the panel; or to note the request, take no further action and continue to have no limit on the numbers of hackney carriage vehicles.