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Channel 4 Privatisation

Volume 720: debated on Wednesday 12 October 2022

1. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential impact of Channel 4 privatisation on the television production industry in Scotland. (901579)

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that my Cabinet colleagues and I are committed to ensuring the further success of Channel 4. The Government are determined to support the incredible TV production industry in Scotland, and we believe that in the long run the UK production industry will benefit from a sustainable Channel 4.

Channel 4 is a key commissioner for Scottish independent production companies. It spends about £20 million a year on Scottish productions, supporting about 400 jobs in Scotland. Analysis from Ernst & Young says that privatisation could result in £1 billion being lost from the UK’s nations and regions, so for the sake of Scotland’s creative economy, will the Secretary of State make representations to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to follow the evidence and keep Channel 4 in public hands?

I have had discussions with the Culture Secretary and the previous Culture Secretary. The Government’s position is that we are looking again at the sale of Channel 4, and we will have further details in due course. We want Channel 4 to flourish, and we want independent production companies to flourish and thrive, because we recognise that we live in a challenging and changing media landscape.