Louise Sinclair wrote:
Also we have no guarantee that the proposed fee would remain at £12. Looking ahead I could see this fee rapidly increasing to support the ECF and it's expenses.
I think it's almost certain. Whoever draws up the ECF's next budget will have to put flesh on the bones, but the ECF will have five levers to pull when it needs to raise more money.
The five levers being
League membership at £ 12 a head per year
Additional cost for Congresses at £ 6 a head per year
Additional cost (above Congresses) for playing in FIDE rated events £ 9 a head per year
Non-member charge for playing in Congresses £ 6 a head per Congress
Non-member charge for playing in Leagues or county matches £ 1 or £ 2 a head per game.
So let's speculate, the ECF wants or needs another 10%. Where does it apply the increases?
As Paul notes, the increases in Game Fee were not immediately felt by players. To the extent that leagues and Congresses had financial reserves, they were able, if they wished, to spread the ECF's increases over a longer period of time.
I don't see any other sensible way for the ECF to collect national memberships than to have a money taking website in the style of an e2e4 Congress entry form. It will however be the case that the first contact of a league player for a new season in August or September could well be the ECF reminder of membership renewal and at a higher price than the previous year.