Government willing to legislate to force Channel 4 relocation

Simon Austin's picture
Channel 4

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has warned she will introduce legislation forcing Channel 4 to move out of London if the broadcaster refuses to relocate.

The Conservative’s general election manifesto in June stated that Channel 4 "will be relocated out of London" and the Government is currently considering the results of a consultation into whether the broadcaster should move. 

However, in July, Channel 4 released a 46-page response to the consultation, arguing why it should not move.

And former Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham has condemned the manifesto pledge as "irresponsible”, claiming that moving the organisation would be "a highly destructive proposition".

But Bradley told MPs: "This is a decision for the board, but clearly if we cannot reach an agreement, we would need to legislate, and I welcome the fact that there is cross-party support for the private Member’s Bill on this matter.

"We are discussing with Channel 4 the appropriate way forward and what is appropriate for it to do. I make no comment on an appropriate place for it to relocate to.

"I have heard a number of bids just today."

Manchester is one of the cities to have expressed an interest in becoming the new home of the broadcaster, along with Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield, Stafford, Stoke and York.

The Channel 4 (Relocation) Bill, sponsored by South Stoke MP Jack Bereton, stands no realistic chance of becoming law unless it is actively supported by the Government.