Culture secretary

Channel 4 privatization ‘will cost jobs in Yorkshire’, says shadow culture secretary

The channel is currently owned by the government and receives its funding from advertising, but is expected to open to sales offers from next year.

The network – which has its second base in Leeds – said it was “disappointed” with the decision but “will continue to engage” with the government to ensure it still plays its “unique role” in British life.

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Lucy Powell, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Selling Channel 4, which doesn’t cost the taxpayer a dime anyway, to what is likely to be a foreign company, is cultural vandalism.

Channel 4 headquarters in London (PA)

“It will cost jobs and opportunities in the North and Yorkshire, and hit the wider UK creative economy.”

She added: ‘It shows the Tories are out of ideas and out of the way. Of all the issues the public wants action on, Channel 4 governance is not one of them.

Channel 4 said it had presented the government with “a genuine alternative to privatization which would preserve its future financial stability”.

A statement added: “This is particularly important given that the organization has only been engaged for two years in a meaningful engagement to increase its impact in nations and regions across the UK.”

“Channel 4 remains legally committed to its unique public service remit. The organization will focus on how we can ensure we deliver the remit to both our viewers and the UK creative economy across the world. UK.

“The proposal to privatize Channel 4 will require a long legislative process and political debate. We will of course continue to engage with DCMS, Government and Parliament, and do everything in our power to ensure that Channel 4 continues to play its unique role in the creative ecology and national life of Great Britain. Brittany.

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However, government sources said state ownership was “holding back” Channel 4 (C4) and that privatization would “remove its straitjacket”.

“Following consultation, ministers have decided that while C4 as a business is currently performing well, government ownership is holding it back in the face of a competitive and rapidly changing media landscape,” the source said.

“C4 is a great company with a strong brand built around it being creative, innovative and distinctive, but a change in ownership will remove its shackles, giving C4 the freedom to innovate and grow so it can grow. flourish and prosper long into the future and support all of the UK’s creative industries.

“Ministers will seek to reinvest the proceeds of the sale. They want to use the money from the sale to spend on a “creative dividend” – putting money into independent production and improving wider creative skills in priority regions of the country.

Channel 4 officially opened its Leeds base last September, with plans to relocate around 200 staff, after the new office was announced in 2019.

Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel said the ruling would mean ‘thousands of jobs across regions and nations will disappear, independent production companies will go bankrupt and UK films will not be made’.

In an internal email to staff last night, the broadcaster’s chief executive said her priority was to ‘take care of you all and of the wonderful spirit of Channel 4’.

Alex Mahon continued: “Ultimately, ownership of C4 is with the government to propose and Parliament to decide.

“Our job is to deliver what Parliament asks us to do, and if or when that changes, then I am confident that this incredible organization will respond with the relentless energy it has always shown in pursuit of its goals and its mandate.”