Chan­nel 4 move would cre­ate 3,400 jobs for city

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Jonathan Walker Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

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.”

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