Statement in relation to the future of Channel 4

Channel 4 gives ordinary people a chance. Its current model allows the channel to put people, talent, and opportunity before profit. It doesn’t discriminate, and instead gives marginalised people a strong voice. Its commitment to diversity behind the scenes, on screen and among its viewers means that the most under-represented within our communities have a mainstream channel that they can truly call home.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said: “Recent announcements from Government about the ownership of Channel 4 has rightly sparked much concern within the creative industry and beyond. That is because the nation knows just how important Channel 4 is.

Channel 4 gives ordinary people a chance. Its current model allows the channel to put people, talent, and opportunity before profit. It doesn’t discriminate, and instead gives marginalised people a strong voice. Its commitment to diversity behind the scenes, on screen and among its viewers means that the most under-represented within our communities have a mainstream channel that they can truly call home.

These values align so closely with my own personal mission as Mayor of West Yorkshire. The diversity of our region is one of our great strengths, and a move to privatisation risks this commitment to diversity and inclusion, threatening the ethos that is at the very heart of Channel 4.“I am lucky to have worked in the creative industries for many years, and because of that experience I also understand the positive impact that a broadcaster like Channel 4 has on economic growth, skills, training, employment and regeneration.

Back in 2019, Channel 4’s National HQ was launched in Leeds here in West Yorkshire. The move has not only given our creative talent hope about a future in broadcasting and reinvigorated our already strong cultural offer, but relocation has also brought vital investment into the region, with an ecosystem of new creative businesses already developing here.

The choice to relocate represents Channel 4’s commitment to Northern regions and towns and demonstrates a genuine belief by those in charge that our talent, knowledge, creative skill and technical ability can rival anywhere in the nation. These are values that are enshrined in the public service model of Channel 4, and privatisation risks the promises made by Channel 4 to make more programmes outside of London and the South East. So, I would ask the Government - what do you stand to gain from privatising?

Channel 4 is made for us, at no cost to us, and the current model is working. We have a stake in the channel, and at present, the channel has a commitment to the things that matter to us. Privatisation risks losing the things that make Channel 4 so precious to us and risks stifling economic recovery and cultural revolution of places like West Yorkshire.

We must not let this happen.”