The Prime Minister vetoed Home Office proposals to increase licensing fees, despite the deal being backed by the country sports industry and approved by Home Secretary Theresa May
Senior government sources said Downing Street had asked the Home Office to come up with a deal that was acceptable to both the police and shooters, which it had done. The proposal was then sent to David Cameron who vetoed it, according to the broadsheet.
“Conservatives in the centre are stopping the increase everyone else has agreed has to happen,” said Norman Baker, the Home Office minister responsible for crafting the licence fee increase deal.
David Cameron’s stepfather-in-law owns the Tarbert estate, a 20,000-acre shooting estate on the island of Jura where the PM has previously gone stalking. He has been accused of letting family interests in shooting affect his decision, with Diana Johnson calling for an investigation into whether there has been a conflict of interest.
“With the prime minister’s family hosting regular shooting parties, there are real questions about whether he’s prioritising his family’s hobbies over the needs of the county,” she said.
These allegations are made despite there being any evidence that states exactly how much the average licence costs to process.
Both Johnson and Baker have expressed widly inaccurate views on the topic of licence fees. Baker said he didn’t see why police should “subsidise the licence of firearms, licences that are for people who could afford to pay”. It’s a concern that the man charged with carving out a licence fee increase deal in the first place doesn’t appreciate that “firearms ownership is not a luxury for many people, who use them as tools” and may not be able to afford the 300% increase originally proposed.
Johnson claimed the money currently set aside for firearms licensing “could put hundreds of police officers back on the beat”. If the licence fee did increase, it has not been stated how the current firearms licensing budget would be re-distributed within police forces.