Wales – in the House of Commons on 23rd November 2022.
The Government are carefully considering the business case for the sale of Channel 4. Whatever the outcome—as I heard from the chair of Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru at the recent S4C 40th anniversary event, the quality of Wales’s independent television production sector is unparalleled—I am sure it will continue to thrive.
I welcome the Minister to his place and wish him well. He will know that Channel 4 spends more in the nations and regions than any other production company that works in the United Kingdom. Does he not agree that it would be absolute madness to reduce that funding to the Welsh broadcast and television sectors and privatise Channel 4, and does he welcome what it appears will soon be the Prime Minister’s U-turn on that rather strange decision?
The hon. Member will know that the independent television production sector in Wales is thriving, with at least 50 organisations. That needs to continue into the future. The important thing is that Channel 4 can survive in a new landscape, with streaming and competition from abroad.
The hon. Lady raises a very important point, and I feel sure that it will be at the forefront of the Government’s considerations when they look at the business case and the implications of Channel 4 privatisation.
Will my hon. Friend take this opportunity to praise the work of production companies, not only in Cardiff but Aberystwyth and elsewhere in Wales? Is he aware that some of those companies are frustrated with Channel 4 and feel that they cannot get a look in? Some of them would welcome a change of management.
Those considerations will need to be a subject of the review. The important thing to emphasise is the long list of productions from Wales that we all know well, and we must see that continue.
I welcome the appointment of my hon. Friend, who is surely one of the ablest Ministers in His Majesty’s Government. I would be interested to know of his recent assessments of the television production industry in Wales and the ever-expanding Media City in Greater Manchester.
My hon. Friend will know much more about that particular issue than me, but Manchester is near to north Wales, and the success of Manchester influences media performance within north Wales.