BASC welcomes new firearms licensing fees
The UK's largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has welcomed a firearms licensing fees order which has today been laid before Parliament.
The order contains Government proposals to increase the fee for the grant of a shotgun certificate from £50 to £79.50 with proportionate increases in other fees. The order will bring the new fees into effect from April 6 2015.
BASC, which has a membership of more than 140,000, has welcomed the order which will introduce the first fees increase since 2001. BASC believes the settlement is fair and strongly resisted unfounded calls for the fees to rise to £109 or more.
The proposals originate from a Home Office working group which included stakeholders such as BASC, the British Shooting Sports Council and the police. The new fees were reached following a rigorous process informed by evidence, Treasury guidelines and the principles of better regulation. The proposals, which have been out for public consultation since November, are supported by the working group including the police.
The fee for a shotgun renewal will rise to £49, for the grant of a firearm certificate to £88 and for renewal of firearms certificates to £62. Variations on firearms certificates will be reduced to £20. Coterminous certificates, where both shotgun and firearm certificates are dealt with at the same time, will be £90 and then £65 on renewal. The new fees reflect the cost of administration. BASC supports police efforts to introduce e-commerce, which will improve service to certificate holders and improve value for money.
BASC chairman Alan Jarrett said: “This carefully assessed level of fees represents a good outcome for people who shoot. The order puts to rest an issue that has been debated for some years. I particularly welcome the support for this way forward by all the stakeholders including the police.”
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Shooting and Conservation, who worked extensively with the Home Office on this issue said: “I want to congratulate the Home Office on a job well done. Everyone agreed that after thirteen years and at a time of great financial pressure on the police that a rise in fees was long overdue.
The important thing has been to ensure that the increases are evidence-based and the product of a rigorous process and that lawful gun-owners are not being “taxed” purely because they shoot.”
Richard Ali, Chief Executive of BASC said: “BASC welcomes the fact that the order is based on Treasury guidelines and the principles of better regulation, both introduced by the last Labour government. The proposal is proportionate and it’s important to remember that those who shoot come from all walks of life and that for many firearms are tools of their jobs and not a luxury.”