I share the disappointment of many of my constituents at the decision to privatise Channel 4. I remain unconvinced by the plans put forward by the Government, notwithstanding sustainable alternatives.
The decision leaves many unanswered questions. The Government must show how it will safeguard the remit in legislation and protect the independent production sector.
As Chair of the Channel 4 APPG, I have worked closely with Channel 4 to lobby the Government on this decision and continue to do so.
I am copying below Channel 4’s statement on their position for your information:
“With over 60,000 submissions to the Government’s public consultation, it is disappointing that today’s announcement has been made without formally recognising the significant public interest concerns which have been raised.
Channel 4 has engaged in good faith with the Government throughout the consultation process, demonstrating how it can continue to commission much-loved programmes from the independent sector across the UK that represent and celebrate every aspect of British life as well as increase its contribution to society, while maintaining ownership by the public.
Recently, Channel 4 presented DCMS with a real alternative to privatisation that would safeguard its future financial stability, allowing it to do significantly more for the British public, the creative industries and the economy, particularly outside London. This is particularly important given that the organisation is only 2 years into a significant commitment to drive up its impact in the UK’s Nations and Regions.
Channel 4 remains legally committed to its unique public-service remit. The focus for the organisation will be on how we can ensure we deliver the remit to both our viewers and the British creative economy across the whole of the UK.
The proposal to privatise Channel 4 will require a lengthy legislative process and political debate. We will of course continue to engage with DCMS, Government and Parliament, and do everything we can to ensure that Channel 4 continues to play its unique part in Britain’s creative ecology and national life.”