[holding answer 28 April 2008]: The rod licence year starts on 1 April. Concessionary rates of rod licence duty do not apply to old age pensioners as a class, but rather to persons over the age of 65, Blue Badge holders and people in receipt of a disability living allowance.
The Environment Agency is under no legal obligation to offer rod licences to any class of persons at concessionary duty rates. Also concessionary rates are offered not because of an inability to pay, but to reflect reduced opportunities for angling available to those who are disabled or infirm.
Both the Agency and I recognise that the increase in concessionary duty rates for this year is significant. The Agency has publicly stated that it will use a significant proportion of the monies raised by the higher duty rates to improve access to angling for the disabled and senior anglers. I welcome this and will seek evidence from the Agency that it has honoured that commitment.
The percentage increase in rod licence duties between 2007-08 and 2008-09 for annual licences at full and concessionary rates is set out in the following table.
2007-08 (£) 2008-09 (£) Percentage increase Salmon and sea trout Full 66.50 68.00 2 Concessionary 33.25 45.00 35 Non-migratory trout and coarse fish Full 24.50 25.00 2 Concessionary 12.25 16.75 37
Salmon and sea trout
Non-migratory trout and coarse fish