Saturday, 3 May 2008

Fishing Matters

After acting against some of the poorest people in the country on the 10p tax band, Browns government acts against disabled people.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was challenged over the huge rise in rod licences for disabled anglers during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
'While the Prime Minister is on the subject of disabled people, may I ask whether he is aware that Labour's attack on vulnerable people has been extended to disabled anglers? They have seen the cost of their fishing licence go up by 37 per cent., as opposed to 2 per cent. for able-bodied people—if, that is, they can find a post office from which to buy one.'

The visibly uncomfortable Prime Minister pledged to look into the 37% increase saying: “I will look at the facts…and see what has happened to bring that about”.

The issue was raised aised the issue as part of a campaign against the rise in the cost of concessionary rod licences for pensioners and disabled anglers imposed by the Environment Agency and Defra Minister Jonathan Shaw.

It may be too late to redress the damage this year, but the Government should to commit to a five year freeze on concessionary rod licence fees to bring them back down to a sensible level.

The Prime Minister was rightly embarrassed when confronted with the huge rise in the cost of rod licences for disabled anglers. Between 2003 and 2007 anglers contributed an extra £4.4 million through rod licence fees yet the Environment Agency was forced to raise fees further in 2008 in the face of Government funding cuts.

But the question is where was Parliamentary Spokesman for Angling Martin Salter MP on this issue.

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