Scotland’s culture secretary welcomes U-turn on Channel 4 privatisation

Westminster’s U-turn on Channel 4 privatisation has been welcomed by Scotland’s Culture Secretary after repeated calls to scrap the proposals.

Angus Robertson had outlined the Scottish Government’s opposition to the plans in September 2021.

The UK Government’s Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan confirmed on Thursday that the broadcaster will remain in public ownership.

Channel 4 privatisation
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan who has written to the Prime Minister, recommending the Government drops its plans to privatise Channel 4. (James Manning/PA)

The plans for privatisation were first raised by Ms Donelan’s predecessor Nadine Dorries.

An alternative package of reforms was announced for the broadcaster through the Media Bill, which will allow Channel 4 to make and own some of its content.

Mr Robertson is to ask his Westminster counterpart how the new measures will impact public sector broadcasting in Scotland.

He said: “The Scottish Government has long warned that plans to privatise Channel 4 were unnecessary and ill-conceived, and that if the UK Government ignored these warnings, privatisation of the channel would have a detrimental impact on public sector broadcasting and the jobs which rely on it.

“I’m pleased UK ministers have finally listened to repeated warnings and confirmed plans to privatise Channel 4 are no longer being pursued.

“This is welcome news for the independent production sector which has flourished with Channel 4’s help, including £200 million for Scottish-based productions and support for 400 jobs since 2007.

“I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to learn what impact the UK Government’s new plans to introduce an alternative package of reforms for Channel 4 will have on production in Scotland.”