Channel 4 move would create 3,400 jobs for city
MOVING Channel 4 to the West Midlands would create 3,400 jobs in the region and would grow the region’s economy by £235 million, a government study has concluded.
The findings were published in a study by independent economists commissioned by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Department, which is considering whether to move the broadcaster out of London.
It comes after outgoing Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham last week claimed the proposal to move Channel 4 by the Conservatives was “irresponsible”.
Mr Abraham told a House of Commons inquiry that forcing Channel 4 to move was “a highly destructive proposition”.
He said up to 80 per cent of Channel 4 staff might quit instead of moving.
But supporters of the Birmingham bid point out people from across the country who want to work in the media currently move to London.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street and seven local councils in the region have launched a bid to bring Channel 4 to Birmingham, and suitable sites for a new headquarters have been identified near the planned HS2 Curzon Street station in central Birmingham or the HS2 interchange station in Solihull.
The study found bringing Channel 4 to the West Midlands would directly create 790 jobs .
But many hundreds more would be created indirectly, bringing the estimated total to 3,412.
London’s economy would lose out as a result of the change – but across the entire UK, the number of jobs would increase by 177 and the economy would grow by £10 million.
Even a partial relocation to the West Midlands would create 2,500 jobs in the region and grow the local economy by £117 million.
This would involve Channel 4 keeping some of its staff in London including its advertising sales team.
In practice, this option could provide a compromise which would solve some of the concerns raised by Channel 4 managers.
The economists also looked at the impact if Channel 4 moved its headquarters while also adopting a policy of commissioning more programmes from outside London.
Across the UK this would create 7,500 jobs and grow the national economy by £580 million.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “This independent analysis makes clear the potential benefits of Channel 4 increasing its impact outside the capital, and we hope to agree a way forward so that the broadcaster truly reflects and represents the full diversity of the UK.”