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Chuka Umunna demands action over Olympic licence rejections

Exclusive: Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna will today table three parliamentary questions in support of the Olympic firms denied marketing licences, as he urges ministers to address the “unsatisfactory” Supplier Recognition Scheme.

Parliamentary questions tabled today by shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna:

  • To ask the culture secretary what representations she has received from businesses on the operation of Olympic marketing licences.
  • To ask the culture secretary how many firms have submitted applications for Olympic marketing licences this year to date; and of these how many have been a) approved b) rejected.
  • To ask the culture secretary if she will list the grounds applications for Olympic marketing licences can be rejected; and list how many firms have been rejected this year to date for each of such grounds.

CN revealed last week that almost a fifth of applicants – including materials and contracting giant Aggregate Industries – had been denied permission to market their Olympic work.

Mr Umunna told CN it was “greatly concerning that despite the government’s promise that firms would be able to refer to their Olympic work in marketing, many are still facing difficulties in doing so”.

He added: “As more and more time elapses since the Games took place, the more urgent it becomes to get a solution which actually works for the businesses involved.”

In January this year, firms were offered a chance to apply to lift the much-resented Olympic marketing licensing ban, allowing companies that worked on the 2012 Games to advertise their work abroad, at trade shows and award ceremonies.

However, as CN reported at the time, the lifting of restrictions does not extend to rivals of suppliers in the worldwide sponsor categories, at the request of the International Olympic Committee.

As of the beginning of March, nearly 60 firms – or 17 per cent of applicants – had their applications rejected for marketing licences, to protect worldwide sponsor investment.

Mr Umunna continued: “We want the great British firms that delivered the Games to be able to shout from the rooftops about it, and to be able to use it to win orders across the globe.

“Ministers took half a year to respond to John Armitt’s recommendations on Olympic marketing restrictions and it seems that the solution they have reached is already being found to be unsatisfactory.

“We want to see this put in place without more delay and ministers must address the ongoing problems that have emerged.”

Firms had been barred from referring to themselves as suppliers to London 2012, Locog or the Olympic Delivery Authority, with the threat of legal action if the rules were ignored.

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