Channel 4 Relocation — [Sir Graham Brady in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:21 pm on 10th May 2018.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central 3:21 pm, 10th May 2018

Of course I am happy to do that. Perhaps my one regret is that the decision will not be taken in a couple of months. Who knows what we might have done, had that been the case, working collectively and collaboratively across the great county of Yorkshire; but, alas, I find I am on this occasion, almost uniquely, on a different side of the argument from my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend John Grogan, who is sitting next to him.

I was intrigued to hear the comment of the hon. Member for Glasgow South about which city—if it were a city—Channel 4 would be. During questions in the House I said that if Channel 4 were a city it would be Sheffield, and that belief is based on a simple truth that makes Channel 4 and Sheffield a perfect fit for each other. I hope that I have made clear the strength of the bid that we shall submit tomorrow, but I want to mention how important the bid is and how much we hope to secure the investment. It is because the Sheffield city region is already home to 68,000 businesses, which generate £30 billion a year, but the average weekly salary is £60 less than the UK average, and it is clear that too few people in South Yorkshire have a decent income or get their fair share of the nation’s wealth. The decision to locate Channel 4 in Sheffield would not only add significant weight to the Government’s northern powerhouse but would provide a much needed shot in the arm for our city region—one that has in the past few years created 37,000 jobs. It would do much to tackle existing regional inequalities—something that should be a priority for any Government.

With all that in mind, and recognising that the decision is ultimately for Channel 4, I hope and trust that the Minister will give serious consideration to the strength of Sheffield’s bid and that that will help to ensure that the brand that is “Made in Sheffield” will become as much a mark of excellence in the age of information as it was in the age of steel.