Channel 4 Relocation

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th May 2018.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

We warmly welcome Channel 4’s agreement to establish a new national headquarters outside London. I am sure that a number of cities throughout the country will be well placed to host Channel 4. The final decision on the location is one for Channel 4 and will be made later this year.

Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

Does the Secretary of State agree that the strength of Glasgow’s creative and independent television production sector and its rich cultural diversity make it the ideal place for Channel 4 to land? How will he ensure that the devolved nations get a fair share of the spoils of relocation? There should be no more lift and shift, but some real spending on Scottish production companies.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Of course, as well as moving its national headquarters outside London, Channel 4 has committed to increase its production spend outside London to 50%, much of which will end up in the devolved nations. I am delighted to say that Channel 4 currently seems to be very popular right across the country. Once it has made its decision to go to one particular place, I hope it remains popular everywhere else.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin Conservative, Derbyshire Dales

But would not Birmingham be a better choice?

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

I like to make decisions, but I am delighted that this is one I do not have to make.

Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

I should declare an interest as the newly elected Sheffield city region Mayor. If Channel 4 were a city, it would be Sheffield, which is creative dynamic, authentic and welcoming. It is a city rich in culture. Does the Secretary of State agree that Sheffield would be more than deserving of a place on the shortlist of those cities bidding to attract Channel 4’s national headquarters when it relocates?

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

I admire the hon. Gentleman’s modesty, because he merely asked for a place on the shortlist, as opposed to winning the decision. Of course, there will also be creative hubs for those cities to which Channel 4 does not move. I am sure that this afternoon’s Westminster Hall debate on this topic will be well subscribed so that this debate can continue further.

Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture and Media)

Glasgow’s bid to be Channel 4’s HQ has gathered cross-party and, indeed, cross-city support, with Edinburgh prepared to set aside ancient rivalries. Does the Secretary of State agree that with that level of support, coupled with its ability to draw on production infrastructure and creative and cultural talent, Glasgow ticks all the boxes?

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

I love Glasgow. It is an amazing city that is really going places. I am delighted that there is so much enthusiasm from every corner of the House for the fulfilment of a Conservative party manifesto commitment.

Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

I do not wish to add to the bidding war, but when the Secretary of State has discussions with Channel 4 about where it might relocate, perhaps it might also reconsider some of its options in terms of its broadcasting output throughout the United Kingdom.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. It is almost impossible to overplay the amazing advances in broadcasting production in Northern Ireland over the past few years. It has been an absolute triumph and a great addition not only to the economy but to society and culture in Northern Ireland. I am sure that Channel 4 will consider that, too.