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Channel 4 Privatisation

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 20 October 2022

Channel 4 is a great UK success story, and in a rapidly changing media landscape the Government of course want it to thrive in the long term, while maintaining its distinctiveness. I am currently looking at the business case for the sale of Channel 4 and will set out further details to the House in due course.

I just want to clarify in my own mind that the right hon. Lady has no plans at present to carry on the previous policy of privatising Channel 4.

Film4 films have collectively won 37 academy awards and 84 BAFTAs—a record that any Hollywood studio would be proud of. Its films include important examples of the British Asian experience, such as “Bhaji on the Beach”. Does the Minister recognise that the privatisation of Channel 4 would jeopardise the only major private investment stream in British film?

As I said in answer to the hon. Gentleman’s first question, I am thoroughly reviewing the business case, which is the right thing to do—I am an evidence-based politician. We have a fantastic, growing creative industry in this country, which relies on platforms such as Channel 4. That is, of course, part of the decision- making process.

Privatising Channel 4 could result in over 1,000 jobs being lost from the supply chain in our nations and regions. Ministers cannot claim to support levelling up while letting this loss go ahead. When will they finally confirm that they know privatising Channel 4 is the wrong decision for our economy, regions and culture?

As I have said, I am reviewing this business case and can assure all Members that I am doing it thoroughly. I am basing my decision on evidence. I am listening to representatives of the sector, all Members of the House and the public, and I will come back shortly with our decision.