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Channel 4

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

9. What progress his Department has made on the implementation of the initiative contained in the Digital Britain report to give Channel 4 a new public service remit. (310895)

A new remit for Channel 4 is being agreed as part of the Digital Economy Bill, which is currently in the other place. Its remit will be extended particularly to cover digital aspects, older children and young adults, as well as to the making and distribution of British films.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Does he agree with me that Channel 4 has made a magnificent contribution to public service broadcasting in this country for well over a quarter of a century? Will he take this opportunity to dismiss any advice to the contrary that he may be receiving and today rule out the privatisation of Channel 4?

I am very happy to agree that Channel 4 is overshadowed in its contribution to public service broadcasting only by the BBC. It is an outstanding institution—one that needs to continue to deliver public service in the public sector. The recent proposals by Policy Exchange, the Conservatives’ favourite think-tank, to privatise Channel 4 are, I agree with my hon. Friend, as absurd as their creative industries taskforce’s idea to get rid of the BBC licence fee.