UK Culture Secretary confirms plans to privatise Channel 4 have been scrapped

Image of UK Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan. Credit: Wikipedia - By Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=126589267

Plans to privatise Channel 4 have been scrapped confirmed the UK culture secretary Michelle Donelan.

 

As confirmed by the UK culture secretary Michelle Donelan today, Thursday, January 5, plans to privatise Channel 4 have been scrapped, according to Sky News.

The broadcaster will continue to be publicly owned: “but with greater commercial flexibility, increased investment in skills and jobs across the UK”, said a statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. “New production arrangements to support its long-term sustainability and growth”, will also be implemented, it added.

Channel 4 is: “a British success story and a linchpin of our booming creative industries. After reviewing the business case and engaging with the relevant sectors I have decided that Channel 4 should not be sold”, said Michelle Donelan.

She continued: “This announcement will bring huge opportunities across the UK with Channel 4’s commitment to double their skills investment to £10m and double the number of jobs outside of London”.

“The package will also safeguard the future of our world-leading independent production sector. We will work closely with them to add new protections such as increasing the amount of content C4 must commission from independent producers”, Donelan concluded.

Michelle Donelan’s predecessor, Nadine Dorries, had previously announced that plans to well the broadcaster were being discussed.

“Three years of a progressive Tory government being washed down the drain. Levelling up, dumped. Social care reform, dumped. Keeping young and vulnerable people safe online, watered down”, the former Culture Secretary tweeted last night upon hearing the news of a U-turn.

“A bonfire of EU leg, not happening. Sale of C4 giving back £2b reversed. Replaced with what? A policy at some time in the future to teach maths for longer with teachers we don’t yet even have to do so. Where is the mandate – who voted for this?”, she added.

“Will now be almost impossible to face the electorate at a GE and expect voters to believe or trust our manifesto commitments”, Dorries concluded.

Channel 4 was born in 1982 and has existed ever since solely by advertising revenue. External production companies have always been responsible for all content that was broadcast.

“For over 40 years, Channel 4 has been a keystone of Britain’s universal, free, public service broadcasting architecture. We have spoken up for diverse and young audiences across the UK, nurtured new talent and held power to account”, read a statement from Channel 4.

It added: “But standing still has never been an option for Channel 4 throughout our history. Indeed, our next stage of evolution is already well underway”.

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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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