Licence fee concerns quashed

There’s relief in the shooting community as it appears that the government has taken stakeholders concerns regarding proposed firearms licence fees on board. 

Fees outlined in a government response published by Home Office consultation are 58 per cent lower than those initially proposed in 2017. 

BASC issued a robust response to the eight-week public consultation, which sought views on the implementation of new fees for prohibited weapons dealers, museum collections and Home Office-approved shooting clubs.

However, the Home Office consultation did not deal with fees for firearm or shotgun certificates issued by police forces.

Bill Harriman, BASC’s director of firearms, said he was particularly pleased the fee for museums would remain the same – £200 – and that the introduction of a “sliding scale” for variations represented progress.

Mr Harriman commented: “The government appears to have listened to stakeholder concerns as the new fees are some 58 per cent lower than the consultation proposal.

“The introduction of a graduated cost scale for variations that involve differing levels of police and government work is a welcome acknowledgment of an issue raised in stakeholder meetings.”

Mr Harriman added that the decision to increase the fee for shooting club approval to £444 from £84 was less welcome.

He said: “Clubs are universally acknowledged as being beneficial institutions and instrumental in introducing newcomers to the sport and yet they are being subjected to a 428 per cent rise. The process whereby this fee level was arrived at is not explained.

“No task and cost matrix has been revealed, leading to continuing concerns about transparency,” he concluded.

BASC will continue to make further representations to the Home Office. Chairman Eoghan Cameron explained: “This is something of a victory. The Home Office has reduced what they were going to charge us.

“Thanks to our members who responded to the consultation and the unprecedented number of MPs who lobbied the Home Office on their behalf. However, the Home Office still needs to be transparent about how it arrived at the final fees.”

The government intends to introduce the measures via statutory instrument and says the fees will apply in England, Wales and Scotland.

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