Tory leadership candidates urged to halt Channel 4 privatisation plans

Independent production companies are urging Conservative Party leadership candidates to commit to halting the sale of Channel 4.

Firms including those behind popular TV programmes such as Peaky Blinders, The Crown, and Ackley Bridge, have written an open letter to the candidates, adding their support to a campaign launched last month, co-ordinated by We Own It.

The 16 independent production companies are asking the candidates to commit to dropping the privatisation plan.

They believe the election of a new Prime Minister offers an opportunity to keep Channel 4 in public hands.

The open letter highlights that as a publicly owned broadcaster funded through advertising, Channel 4 does not cost the taxpayer a penny, instead returning a profit of £74 million last year and contributing £1 billion to the economy, supporting 10,000 jobs and 15,000 training opportunities.

Matthew Topham, We Own It lead campaigner, said: “Channel 4 is the levelling-up broadcaster. Its unique business model makes working in TV and film production a realistic dream, no matter where you live in the UK.

“Right now, Channel 4 supports 10,000 jobs, with hubs in Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol, and Cardiff, but cuts to one in three regional jobs are predicted under a private Channel 4, and 60 independent production companies are expected to go bust if the plans go ahead.

“If the Government is serious about levelling up, they need to protect Channel 4, not sell it off.”