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Channel 4: Relocation

Volume 631: debated on Thursday 16 November 2017

The Government have made it clear that Channel 4 must have a major presence outside London. As a publicly owned broadcaster, it is essential that it reflects and provides for the country as a whole.

The Secretary of State keeps saying that this has got to be ensured, but many of us have put bids in, particularly from the west midlands—I am from Wolverhampton so I would want Channel 4 to go there—and we still do not know. What will she do to ensure that any relocation of Channel 4 protects its ability to fund itself through advertising?

We are discussing with Channel 4 the appropriate way forward and what is appropriate for it to do. I make no comment on an appropriate place for it to relocate to. I have heard a number of bids just today. I suggest that right hon. and hon. Members contact the Channel 4 board to put their propositions forward. This is a decision for the board, but clearly if we cannot reach an agreement, we would need to legislate, and I welcome the fact that there is cross-party support for the private Member’s Bill on this matter.

Given that Norwich University of the Arts produces many digital and creative graduates each year, does the Secretary of State agree, notwithstanding the fact that she is not going to make a public endorsement, that Channel 4 should carefully consider the merits of Norfolk for a new location when it moves outside London?

What we have found through this process, which is still ongoing, is the vast number of incredible creative locations that we have across the whole of the United Kingdom. I urge them all to continue to put forward their suggestions and proposals, not just for Channel 4 but for all other creative industries, because getting creative clusters and a centre of gravity in an area means that creativity can flourish.