The Countryside Alliance has investigated claims that HSBC has been discriminating against businesses involved in shooting.

Having heard rumours that HSBC were declining services to shooting businesses, the Countryside Alliance researched the issue and discovered that at least one customer had been informed that shooting was considered a “prohibited sport” and as such services had been denied. The business in question had written to HSBC but received no response.

Countryside Alliance CEO Tim Bonner subsequently wrote to Douglas Flint, Chairman of HSBC, pointing out the value of game shooting to the UK economy and asking whether a policy discriminating against participants was in place at HSBC.

HSBC policies being misapplied

Mr Flint confirmed that no such policy existed and committed to looking into the matter. On investigation it was discovered by HSBC that their policies were indeed being misapplied, causing shooting businesses to be unfairly denied access to services. Mr Flint then reassured the Countryside Alliance that HSBC’s shooting clients would not be penalised in future and any affected businesses would be contacted. The Countryside Alliance then verified that this had actually happened.

Tim Bonner comments: “We are very grateful to Mr Flint for moving so quickly to address this issue. It would clearly be outrageous to restrict services to shooting businesses, given how important they are to the UK economy and how popular shooting sports have always been, and we were very pleased that this apparent conflict turned out to be a misunderstanding. The Countryside Alliance will always stand up for the shooting community wherever it is challenged.”