The Prime Minister Gordon Brown seemed all at sea when challenged over the rise in the price of a fishing licence for disabled anglers and pensioners on Monday.

Mr Brown was questioned during Prime Minster’s Question Time by Leominster MP Bill Wiggin about the 37% rise brought in under DEFRA minister Jonathon Shaw and looked flustered and embarrassed according to onlookers.

He could only respond: “I will look at the facts…and see what has happened to bring that about”.

The Countryside Alliance is leading a campaign to get to the bottom of the bizarre and inflation busting price rise, and said: “It is too late to redress the damage this year, but we are calling of the Government 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.

“Whilst budget cuts are beyond the Environment Agency’s control, the decision to raise concessionary licence fees by so much was insensitive and misguided. The Agency should not have proposed the 37% rise for pensioner and disabled anglers and the Minister, Jonathan Shaw, should certainly not have agreed it.”

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