The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the UK’s largest shooting organisation with a membership of 140,000, has written to the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to clarify Labour comments on increasing the cost of firearms licences.
In the interview, Mr Balls said: “A few weeks ago we showed how in policing and the borders by scrapping PCC elections, by having new charges for gun licences we’d be able to make savings which we could shift to the front line.”
In the letter to Mr Balls, BASC outlined the rigorous review of licensing fees and police costs which has been undertaken by a Home Office working group which included the police, BASC and other shooting organisations. This found that full cost recovery for firearms licensing under e-commerce would be £79.50 rather than the unverified figure of £196 claimed two years ago on which Labour appears to have based its figures.
BASC offered Mr Balls assistance so that any review undertaken by the Labour Party is based on the latest and most accurate information on the costs of firearms licencing.
Proposals to increase the fee to full cost recovery under e-commerce have already been put out to public consultation.
The proposals come from the Home Office working group which included stakeholders. The licensing system was deconstructed and each part fully costed in accordance with the principles of better regulation and Treasury guidelines introduced by the last Labour government and taking into account the police move to e-commerce for firearms licensing.
In the letter to Mr Balls, BASC points out that Labour’s policing review estimates of gun licensing costs were based on outdated figures and do not take into account the recent review process.
BASC chief executive Richard Ali said: “We have written to the Labour Party to bring the recent collaborative work on licence fees to their attention. BASC is committed to working with all parties to ensure that policy on all aspects of shooting are grounded in solid evidence and conform to the rules for better regulation.”