Mayor urges creative industries to lobby Channel 4 bosses

Channel 4's London headquarters

The West Midlands’ creative business community has been urged to lobby Channel 4 bosses in the hope of persuading them to relocate to the region.

The appeal has been made by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who earmarked the relocation one of the cornerstones of his mayoral campaign last year.

Since the Government began discussions with Channel 4 about relocating out of London just under two years ago, the region has actively lobbied the station and the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Four potential locations – Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry and Brierley Hill – were identified by the West Midlands Combined Authority as part of its submission to Government.

Mr Street, who has been leading the regional campaign, said the time was now right for the entire region to demonstrate that the West Midlands offered the station the best opportunities upon its departure from London.

He said: “Now the West Midlands has secured the Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture, Channel 4 represents our opportunity for a hat-trick that would demonstrate to the world that this region means business.

“I am absolutely convinced that these successes – won on the back of a team effort which has been so often lacking in such campaigns historically – put us in the leading pack as far as this race is concerned.

“The potential benefits of Channel 4 coming here are huge.”

KPMG has calculated that a Channel 4 relocation could directly generate £2.3bn of gross value added (GVA) to the region between 2021 and 2030. It would also create £2.7bn of indirect GVA during the same period, by catalysing wider growth and clustering across the region’s creative and tech sectors, added Mr Street.

“But there’s more to it than just money – the West Midlands is the only natural home for an organisation that rightly wants to represent modern Britain,” he said.

“Basing Channel 4 in the West Midlands would enable the station to reflect the lives and opinions of a young and diverse population more effectively than from any other location. Crucially, it would stimulate more people from diverse backgrounds to take part in the creative sectors.

“This is a region with a great economic story to tell. Our digital and creative industries are waiting to work with Channel 4 and the arrival of HS2 will strengthen our already unrivalled connectivity.”

A decision on any relocation is expected shortly.

“We’ve proven we can do large scale relocations well, as demonstrated by HSBC’s new HQ, the expansion of PwC and the HS2 construction headquarters, in addition to recent BBC investments in the region,” said Mr Street.

“For my part I will continue to champion our region with Channel 4 and Government, we need the whole region to get behind this campaign.

“It is important our creative and tech businesses make their voices heard in the capital.”