Businesses warned not to get caught without a TV licence

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AS the Christmas countdown begins, TV Licensing and the Forum for Private Business are calling on business owners and managers in Fenland to make sure they’re correctly licensed if staff or customers are likely to be watching TV at their premises over the holiday period.

The reminder comes as TV Licensing today reveals that more than 2,700 businesses were caught watching TV without a licence across the UK during 2010 and 2011.

Televisions are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace and online viewing is also making it easier than ever for employees to tune in to live TV at their desks. It’s therefore essential employers are aware of their licensing responsibilities.

Legally, businesses must be covered if anyone watches or records TV programmes on the premises at the same time as they are broadcast. This is the case regardless of the device being used to watch TV or whether viewing takes place in a communal area or at desks or a work station.

TV Licensing will be visiting unlicensed businesses across the UK before and during the Christmas period. As well as risking a court prosecution and fine of up to £1,000 per offence, those without a valid licence may face reputational damage to their business if caught watching TV illegally. Businesses owners found guilty are also required to buy a TV Licence or they could face a second prosecution.

Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesman for the East Midlands, said: “We’re always keen to make sure that businesses have all the information they need to stay on the right side of the law and avoid the risk of prosecution.

“If any business owners or managers would like more information about the licensing requirements, or ways to spread the cost, they can call our businesses team on 0300 790 6124 or visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk/business. A licence costs £145.50 and can be purchased in minutes online.”