BASC and the Countryside Alliance pledge their support for the Home Office's proposed increases to gun licence fees and urge shooters to respond to online consultation

Shooters have under a week to respond to the Home Office’s consultation on increasing gun licence fees, which closes on 29 December. The increases proposed in the consultation were calculated by an all party parliamentary working group in consultation with representatives of the shooting community from BASC and the British Shooting Sports Council, along with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). They are based on an analysis of how much it should cost police forces to administer the licensing system.

The Home Office proposes to increase the cost of the grant of a firearms certificate from £50 to £88, and the cost of the grant of a shotgun certificate from £50 to £79.50. The cost of renewals would also increase – from £40 to £62 for firearms certificates and from £40 to £49 for shotgun certificates. Previously, police had proposed to increase the cost of a shotgun certificate to £109, but this was rejected by BASC, who demanded a more detailed analysis.

In November, Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper announced that, if elected, her party would introduce a full cost recovery system for licensing that would see the cost of a certificate rise to around £200.

Though many shooters are not happy with the prospect of what they see as increased fees but no increase in the efficiency of the licensing system, the Home Office’s proposed changes have been welcomed by most shooting organisations, including the Countryside Alliance and BASC.

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance said: “The proposed increase in firearms licence fees is fair and proportionate bearing in mind the proposed move to an online system and that it has been 13 years since the last increase in fees.

“It is important that the licence system is effective and consistent across forces and serves users and the public to ensure safety. We urge the Government to make speedy progress towards modernisation of the licensing system and encourage all our members to take part in the consultation.”

Gary Ashton, BASC director of firearms operations, commented: “It is important that everyone who shoots takes the time to fill out the short online consultation. It is quick, easy and important. These fee proposals are the result of a detailed process involving BASC, the British Shooting Sports Council and the police working with the Home Office. BASC believes it is a fair deal for certificate holders and recommends that the proposed fees are carefully considered and supported.”

To view and respond to the consultation, visit http://po.st/FeeConsultation.