Channel 4

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 9th July 2015.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 9:30 am, 9th July 2015

What estimate he has made of the value of the public stake in Channel 4.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

In that case, is it not about time they did? Channel 4 has a turnover of about £1 billion a year, and assets of roughly half a billion. Surely the taxpayer stake in it could be sold and would help the Chancellor with his agenda.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

I am told that my hon. Friend has withdrawn his annual private Member’s Bill to abolish the BBC licence fee. Perhaps his attention has now turned to Channel 4. I note what he says.

Photo of Ian Lucas Ian Lucas Shadow Minister (Defence)

Do the Government wish Channel 4 to retain its public service obligation?

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Chair, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Does my hon. Friend share my view that since Channel 4 barely makes an operating profit, any future economic value is more likely to come from cutting broadcasting and production costs, and there may therefore be little public service role for it if it were to be so treated?

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

I note what the Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee says. No doubt under his new remit he will want to make an inquiry into Channel 4. That inquiry might note that Channel 4 has increased its investment in broadcasting by 15%, which is welcome.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

Will the Minister set out exactly what benefit Channel 4 receives from being owned by the state, and what benefit the taxpayer receives from owning a left-wing broadcaster?