Save The Spark

Latest statement from the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Channel 4 Save The Spark

10 September 2021

Channel 4 brought a spark to the North that ignited and inspired our creative industries and a whole host of talent across our vibrant and diverse region.

In the closing days of the Government’s public consultation on the future of Channel 4, I am urging people to tell those in Westminster, that its current public service remit and model must be protected.

The current remit means a commitment to things that matter most to people who often don’t have a voice. The channel celebrates and embraces being different and champions diversity behind the screen, on our screens and among its viewers. 

Channel 4 breaks the mould and privatising the broadcaster could risk this. Only this week, Channel 4’s historic #BlackToFront project brought the issues of Black under-representation to the very forefront of our screens. As Channel 4 say, ‘the programming will not only entertain viewers but also create a national conversation about Black portrayal and representation.’

This commitment within its public service remit is what makes Channel 4 so special. There’s no guarantee that a private owner would commit to these values. So, I ask Government - is it worth the risk?

A recent independent report by Ernst & Young LLP has also shown that potential privatisation of Channel 4 would have an adverse impact on jobs and the independent production sector in the North of England.

Channel 4 have committed to up to 50% of commissions outside of London. From job creation and top-tier investment, to boosting our young people’s career prospects with skilled apprenticeships.

With Channel 4 opening its brand-new HQ right here in Leeds earlier this week, we are already seeing vast economic benefits and the broadcaster’s commitment to regions outside of the South East.

Relocation to Yorkshire has also seen wider benefits with vital investment brought into our region and an ecosystem of new creative businesses developing. Ernst & Young’s report shows that this type of regional economy could be “disproportionately impacted” by a privatised Channel 4.

So, if like me, these things matter to you, I am urging you to get involved and have your say.

Don’t forget, the public consultation into the future of Channel 4 closes at midnight on Tuesday 14th September 2021.

Consultation on a change of ownership of Channel 4 Television Corporation - GOV.UK (