A TAXI driver has called Wiltshire Council hypocrites for splashing an “unnecessary” extra £5,000 a year on transport for adults with learning difficulties.

Michael Presley, owner of Classic Cabs, has held the current council contract for more than four years, driving adults with learning difficulties to various appointments five days a week.

But he said he was shocked to hear his contract would not be renewed, and that the new contract set to start in April would cost £5,000 more.

Mr Presley said he would be happy to continue, and “all they have to do is give a month’s notice”.

The council told him he could not re-apply for tender as he had missed the deadline, despite the fact Mr Presley said he had not been told his contract was due to end, as it had just been extended.

He was doing the work for £75 a day but the new contract, with Value Cars, is for £96 a day, mounting up to an extra £5,040 a year.

“From the money point of view I don’t really care, it’s just the fact they’re wasting £5,000. They are asking everybody to save what they can but they are wasting money hand over fist. It’s just the hypocrisy of it all.”

And Mr Presley said the change would impact on his passengers: “With me it’s the same person every day, but in a bigger company it could be a different person in the morning to the afternoon.”

Sarah Wilde, of Bishopstone, said Mr Presley has driven her sister, who has Down’s syndrome, for years.

“I’m very very upset about it. I think it is really a very dirty trick,” she told the Journal.

“It just seems totally wrong. [My sister] is ageing, it’s really important she gets in the taxi every day and knows who is there.

“I think this will be very upsetting for her. We will just be so sad to lose contact with Michael, who has been such a family support to us.”

Wiltshire Council said: “An application from Classic Cabs wasn’t completed on our online portal, which is used for applying for long-term contracts, and therefore they were not given the opportunity to bid and the contract was awarded to Value Cars.

“We will work with users and their families to ensure a smooth transition to the new service."