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Society and Culture Society and Culture

Relocate Channel 4 out of London

Last updated: 09:39am 17 January 2019

Channel 4 will remain publicly owned and will be relocated out of London

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.35

Our verdict

This policy arises from a desire, expressed in the manifesto, to give national arts and cultural institutions a higher profile and presence outside of London – to help bring “the peoples of the United Kingdom together”. In fact, this is one of several policies aimed at boosting arts and culture outside the capital (see  “Related policies” below).

The government held a consultation on options to increase the regional impact of Channel 4, publishing a summary of responses in September 2017.

Since then, Channel 4 launched its 4 All the UK strategy, which is a plan to “ramp up nations and regions spend and establish a new national HQ outside London”. Bids were submitted from 30 cities and regions to become the home of the new national headquarters, and 13 were shortlisted.

In October 2018, it was announced that Leeds had been chosen as the location of the new headquarters staffed by around 200 employees, with Bristol and Glasgow selected for the establishment of “creative hubs”, each with around 50 staff. Channel 4 will also keep another headquarters in London.

The relocation is set to be implemented in 2019. Channel 4 will retain offices and staff in London, but the plan to open a second headquarters and set up creative hubs away from the capital represents movement towards fulfilment of this policy pledge.

It’s hard to say how much the relocation has been influenced by government, as we can find no evidence of involvement beyond the consultation in 2017 and the manifesto commitment. It is also hard to say whether partial relocation outside of London delivers what the government had in mind. We think it probably does, but we’ll ask the government for clarification.

Nonetheless, with a move planned for 2019, we consider this to be ‘in progress’. Based on our current interpretation, when the Leeds headquarters is open for business, we will change the status to ‘done’. Stay tuned for updates!

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