Published date 5 January 2023

Channel 4 sale scrapped – Metro Mayor hails “Victory for the West of England”

Metro Mayor Dan Norris and Tracy Brabin sitting at table

Metro Mayor Dan Norris has reacted with delight as the privatisation of Channel 4 was scrapped by the Government, meaning the broadcasting can now get on with its plans to bring more jobs to Bristol.

The much-loved channel will remain in public ownership, where it has been for 40 years. It comes a day after the minister’s draft decision was leaked.

Channel 4’s board will now work on their legal duty to ensure "long-term sustainability" of the station amid competition from Netflix and Prime.

The firm will double roles outside London from 300 to 600 by 2025, including at the Channel 4 Bristol Hub, meaning half the company’s workforce will be based outside the capital.

The news was hailed by Metro Mayor Dan Norris, a long-term opponent of the Channel 4 sale plans. He said: “Finally, we have some eleventh-hour common sense from the Government who have listened to those of us who have long argued against these short-sighted and damaging privatisation plans.

“This is a huge victory for public service broadcasting, and for the West of England. It would have been nothing less than an act of economic vandalism to flog Channel 4 off to the highest bidder.

“Channel 4 costs the taxpayer nothing, and gives us a thriving independent production sector, supporting thousands of jobs in my region.

“I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with Channel 4 right from the beginning to keep it public, and keep it in the West of England. It’s a relief that the Government has finally seen sense. I wholeheartedly welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to scrap these petty and harmful privatisation plans”.

Channel 4 is publicly owned and non-profit but receives no taxpayer cash, instead being funded entirely through its commercial activity. Last year it posted record revenues of £1 billion - its strongest-ever financial performance.

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