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Plan to sell off Channel 4 “will cost jobs in Yorkshire and the North”


A plan to sell off Channel 4 will “cost jobs and opportunities in the North and Yorkshire”, Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell has said.

The broadcaster announced yesterday that the government had decided to go ahead with plans to privatise Channel 4.

The government hopes to raise around £1bn from the sale, with Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries saying public ownership was “holding Channel 4 back” from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon, and a change of ownership would give the broadcaster “the tools and freedom to flourish and thrive”.

However, Channel 4 said it was “disappointing” the announcement had been made “without formally recognising the significant public interest concerns which have been raised” during a public consultation.

It added: “Channel 4 has engaged in good faith with the Government throughout the consultation process, demonstrating how it can continue to commission much-loved programmes from the independent sector across the UK that represent and celebrate every aspect of British life as well as increase its contribution to society, while maintaining ownership by the public.”

The news comes less than a year since Channel 4 officially opened its new national headquarters in Leeds.

Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell said the plans amounted to “cultural vandalism”

And Lucy Powell, Shadow Culture Secretary and Manchester Central MP, said the plans amounted to “cultural vandalism”.

She said: “Nothing screams a rudderless Government like announcements on Channel 4 while people’s energy bills are through the roof. 

“Selling off Channel 4, which doesn’t cost the tax-payer a penny anyway, to what is likely to be a foreign company, is cultural vandalism. It will cost jobs and opportunities in the North and Yorkshire, and hit the wider British creative economy.”

And the National Union of Journalists described the proposed sale as a “a wanton assault on a valued British institution disguised as a gift to the creative industry in the UK”.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said: “Channel 4 has a proud history of creativity, imagination and innovation. The current funding model enables high quality journalism which is admired nationally and internationally – at no cost to the taxpayer.

“One has to question the motivation of replacing that model and leaving a public service broadcaster at the mercy of shareholder control. This would be an unforgivable act of cultural barbarism which demands a vigorous response from all who care about public service broadcasting and independent journalism.”

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