David Cameron has intervened to keep the cost of gun licences frozen at £50: a price that hasn't changed since 2001. It costs the police £196 to conduct the background checks. As a result £17 million a year is lost by subsidising the pursuits of the exceedingly rich.
The Country Land and Business Association complains that it's not fair to pass on the full cost of the licence to the owners of shotguns; unlike, say, the owners of passports or driving licences, who are charged on the basis of full cost recovery.
The government has also announced it would raise the subsidy it provides for grouse moors from £30 per hectare to £56. Yes, the British government subsidises grouse moors, which are owned by 1% of the 1% and used by people who are scarcely less rich.
When pheasants are reared, they are classed as livestock: that means the people who raise them are exempt from some payments of value added tax and certain forms of planning control, on the grounds that they are producing food. But as soon as they're released they are classed as wild animals. Otherwise you wouldn't be allowed to shoot them. But if you want to re-capture the survivors at the end of the shooting season to use as breeding stock, they cease to be wild and become livestock again, because you aren't allowed to catch wild birds with nets. If, however, pheasants cause damage to neighbouring gardens, or to cars, or to the people travelling in those cars, the person who released them bears no liability, because for this purpose they are classed as wild animals – even if, at the time, they are being rounded up as legal livestock.
In the treatment of pheasant and grouse shoots we see in microcosm what is happening in the country as a whole.socially and politically, the very rich are protected from the forces affecting everyone else. The United Kingdom is a plutocrats' paradise, in which the rich are scarcely troubled by laws or the fixes, while the poor are plunged into a brutal world of casual labour, insecurity and legal restraint.