Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner writes: Ahead of today’s launch of Labour’s Crime and Justice Manifesto Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, confirmed that a Labour Government would “end the police subsidy of gun licenses” (sic). This argument is not new and was made back in 2013 by Diana Johnson as Shadow Crime and Security Minister.
Since then firearms fees have been reviewed and raised in a process involving agreement between the police, Home Office and the shooting community, represented by the Alliance and other shooting organisations. These fees increases have only just taken effect and the claim that the taxpayer is effectively subsidising shooting via the licensing fee is not true. The new fees provide full cost recovery, in the light of the introduction of e-commerce, and are in line with the principles of better regulation and Treasury rules. To have a policy to remove a subsidy which does not exist seems strange.
Coming on the back of the launch by Maria Eagle , Shadow Environment Secretary, of the document ‘Labour: Protecting Animals’ in which it is stated that a future Labour government would “reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates”, it is clear that much still needs to be done to ensure that shooting and its massive social and environmental contribution to the UK is properly understood by politicians of all parties.
We will continue to update you on the relevant manifesto commitments from all the main parties as announcements are made.