Metro Mayor Dan Norris has reacted with delight as the privatisation of Channel 4 was scrapped by the Government (today Thursday 5 January), meaning the broadcasting can now get on with its plans to bring more jobs to Bristol.
The much-loved channel will remain in public ownership, where it has been for 40 years. It comes a day after the minister’s draft decision was leaked.
Channel 4’s board will now work on their legal duty to ensure “long-term sustainability” of the station amid competition from Netflix and Prime.
The firm will double roles outside London from 300 to 600 by 2025, including at the Channel 4 Bristol Hub in Bristol, meaning half the company’s workforce will be based outside the capital.
The news was hailed by Metro Mayor Dan Norris, a long-term opponent of the Channel 4 sale plans. He said: “Finally, we have some eleventh-hour common sense from the Government who have listened to those of us who have long argued against these short-sighted and damaging privatisation plans.
“This is a huge a victory for public service broadcasting, and for the West of England. It would have been nothing less than an act of economic vandalism to flog Channel 4 off to the highest bidder.
“Channel 4 costs the taxpayer nothing, and gives us a thriving independent production sector, supporting thousands of jobs in my region.
“I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with Channel 4 right from the beginning to keep it public, and keep it in the West of England. It’s a relief that the Government has finally seen sense. I wholeheartedly welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to scrap these petty and harmful privatisation plans”.
Channel 4 is publicly owned and non-profit but receives no taxpayer cash, instead being funded entirely through its commercial activity. Last year it posted record revenues of £1 billion – its strongest-ever financial performance.