UBER’S “stranglehold” over Basildon could come to an end as council bosses plan to write to the controversial firm insisting it either withdraws from Basildon or applies for a proper licence.

A host of Basildon-based taxi firms have previously told the Echo that Uber is eating into their business across the borough.

Basildon has seen a sharp increase in Uber drivers in the area over the last three years and, as a result, the council’s licensing committee met to discuss fears over Uber and the best next steps.

As things stand, Uber drivers are licensed by Transport for London - meaning Basildon Council has little power to take action against drivers and to regulate Uber’s work in the borough.

A driver, who asked for his identity to be withheld and business not to be named, said: “It is excellent news that Basildon will be putting extra pressure on Uber.

“We all know that they are not up to scratch; they are not licensed by the council, no-one is really regulating them. We go through so much training and rigorous testing, and they rock up with a driver’s licence and a nice car and it is all easy.”

In the past, Direct Cars driver Martin Taylor told the Echo “money had dropped and hours have increased” since Uber’s emergence in the borough.

But not everyone is convinced.

Basildon councillor Andrew Schrader has publicly spoken out in support of the firm previously, branding it “healthy competition” and part of the modern use of technology.

He was not able to comment for this story, but following the Echo’s initial story on the council’s plans, he tweeted: “A totally retrograde step that seeks to remove legitimate freedom of choice from our residents, stifle competition, and maintain a closed shop.”

As a result of the meeting, on Wednesday, the council decided to write to Uber - as well as any other cab firm operating from outside the borough - and write to the relevant secretary of state expressing concern.

A meeting will also take place between the licensing committee, MPs, and Basildon-based taxi firms later this year to discuss the issue.

The council has previously sought legal advice on the issue, which has stated that Uber’s activity is “not illegal”.

Basildon Council requires a knowledge test, driving standards assessment or passenger assistance training.