Skip to main content

Channel 4

Volume 598: debated on Thursday 9 July 2015

In that case, is it not about time they did? Channel 4 has a turnover of about £1 billion a year, and assets of roughly half a billion. Surely the taxpayer stake in it could be sold and would help the Chancellor with his agenda.

I am told that my hon. Friend has withdrawn his annual private Member’s Bill to abolish the BBC licence fee. Perhaps his attention has now turned to Channel 4. I note what he says.

We have retained the public service obligation for Channel 4. Ofcom has made an important review of public service broadcasters, which our officials are currently evaluating.

Does my hon. Friend share my view that since Channel 4 barely makes an operating profit, any future economic value is more likely to come from cutting broadcasting and production costs, and there may therefore be little public service role for it if it were to be so treated?

I note what the Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee says. No doubt under his new remit he will want to make an inquiry into Channel 4. That inquiry might note that Channel 4 has increased its investment in broadcasting by 15%, which is welcome.

Will the Minister set out exactly what benefit Channel 4 receives from being owned by the state, and what benefit the taxpayer receives from owning a left-wing broadcaster?

I can see that an interesting debate is developing among some Conservative Members. Perhaps I should leave them to it.