The government has ruled out privatising Channel 4, but will consult on whether to move the broadcaster out of London.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley will outline the consultation plans at the Nations and Regions Media Conference in Salford on Wednesday. She will also confirm that the broadcaster will remain publicly owned, bringing to an end an 18-month C4 ownership review by the government.

The consultation will look at whether the company should relocate all or some of its staff outside London, including the possibility of moving its headquarters. Birmingham has been cited as a possible location for the broadcaster.

Channel 4 is "precious public asset", she is expected to say, but it must "provide a platform for unheard voices and untold stories from right across the United Kingdom".

It will also review whether the amount of money spent on productions outside the M25, which is set at 35% of original British commissions, should increase to 50%.

Bradley will say: "I am unsympathetic towards those who recoil in horror at the very idea of media jobs being based outside the capital. Or for those who insist that people with ideas in the West Midlands, west country or west Wales must travel to Westminster to get their programmes made."

Too much talent outside London was being overlooked, she will add.

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We welcome the Government’s decision not to privatise Channel 4.

“Channel 4 plays a major role in driving innovation, investment and jobs right across the UK – we have invested £1.5 billion in Nations and Regions commissioning over the last 10 years, and consistently outperform our Ofcom requirements. We are keen to do more and have shared with Government wide-ranging proposals to support jobs and investment across the country. We look forward to continuing those discussions as part of this new review, and exploring how the Government can support our ambitions to do more.

“The most important factor in supporting the Nations and Regions is where we spend our money rather than where Channel 4 is headquartered. A substantial relocation would be highly damaging to Channel 4’s business model and diminish our investment in the creative industries around the UK and our overall contribution to the UK economy.”

Staff Reporter

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