Channel 4 to propel the West Midlands’ creative industries says Mayor

Channel 4's London headquarters

The digital and creative industries will be the lifeblood of the West Midlands’ economic recovery – crowned by the relocation to the region of Channel 4, the Mayor for the West Midlands, Andy Street has said.

Speaking in Birmingham at the national launch of the Creative Industries Council’s new toolkit for growth, Mr Street said he was confident the region would become the new home of the broadcaster.

“The digital and creative industries will be the lifeblood of our recovery,” he said.

“The injection of an iconic institution – Channel 4 – will propel the creative industries forward.

“We will get it (Channel 4); it may take a bit, but we will get it.”

Mr Street was delivering one of the keynote speeches to the toolkit launch, which took place at the Birmingham City University’s new Curzon Building.

In his campaign to become the region’s first elected Mayor, Mr Street had repeatedly outlined how the growth of the creative industries was pivotal to his plans for the economic development of the West Midlands.

The creative industries sector covers everything from music, theatre, dance and the other arts to TV & film production, and computer gaming.
To this end, Mr Street used the event to announce – on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority – two new initiatives to support the development of TV and film production in the region.

Firstly, the West Midlands Production Fund (WMPF) will be finalised later this year. Creative England is in final contract negotiations with the Government to secure £2.1m for reinvestment in digital media productions in the West Midlands.

Second is the formation of the West Midlands Screen Bureau; a new initiative that seeks to galvanise the region’s film, TV and digital production sectors by increasing partnership working between industry leaders and production agencies across the combined authority area.

“The potential for the creative and digital industries in the West Midlands is vast. These high growth and future-facing sectors not only offer huge job potential but also drive innovation and support other important industries,” added Mr Street.

“We are working to attract inward investors at one end of the scale, while encouraging the creation and growth of new businesses at the other.

“The West Midlands Production Fund and Screen Bureau will play a key part in both of these efforts. By bringing together regional partners and industry leaders in the film, TV and digital production sectors, the West Midlands will have a much more powerful voice and a clearer direction.”h