Firms to be targeted in Olympic TV crackdown

Steven Leigh, head of policy at Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, urged firms to make sure they are licensed to screen Olympics coverage but said it was a pity TV Licensing officials are chasing after them to do so
Steven Leigh, head of policy at Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, urged firms to make sure they are licensed to screen Olympics coverage but said it was a pity TV Licensing officials are chasing after them to do so

Officials will swoop on businesses this summer to catch any illegally screening Olympics coverage.

TV Licensing officers have warned they will be visiting unlicensed premises and anyone found flouting the law risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Steven Leigh, head of policy for the Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, urged Calderdale firms to make sure they have a licence if they plan to show the London games, but said he was disappointed they were being “chased” to do so.

He said: “Isn’t it a pity, when we’ve got the biggest sports event going on in this country for years, in and amongst everything it brings to the country in terms of prosperity and good will, that TV Licensing should be chasing businesses for having a desire to let staff watch the odd event? Isn’t it a pity that’s the attitude that prevails?”

Much of the 2,500 hours of TV coverage will be broadcast during working hours, and Mr Leigh said allowing firms to be able to screen the games for staff and customers could benefit the economy more than TV licence cash could.

“A lot of people will want time off work to watch these fantastic events and it could be that some businesses could be on the edge of not being able to operate,” he said.

“It could be in terms of the overall economy that being able to watch the event might be overall better for the country than collecting this revenue. But the law is the law and people must abide by it.”

Research by TV Licensing shows only 11 per cent of small businesses have discussed if they will screen events, and over half have made no special allowances for doing so.

Northern spokeswoman Jenny Wilkinson said: “By getting a licence for £145.50 owners and managers will give themselves peace of mind ahead of this amazing Olympic year and avoid the risk of a visit from an enquiry officer.”