Sheffield's Channel 4 bid: Move could create 7, 500 jobs and boost economy by £580 million

Sheffield's bid to provide a home for Channel 4 has been boosted by a Government report that forecasts moving the broadcaster out of London could create nearly 7, 500 jobs and boost the economy by almost £600 million.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14th November 2017, 7:14 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 10:15 pm
An artists's impression of how the new Channel 4 headquarters could look in Sheffield.
An artists's impression of how the new Channel 4 headquarters could look in Sheffield.

The government launched a consultation earlier this year about the possibility of moving the channel out of its £100 million London headquarters to another base elsewhere in the UK to help drive creative jobs throughout the regions. Sheffield was one of a dozen local authorities expressing an interest in hosting the broadcaster.

Channel 4 bosses have been critical of the proposed move, but a 56-page Government report found that combining a full move of the broadcaster’s headquarters with an £88m-a-year boost in spending on shows made outside of London could create economic benefits of £580m and 7, 490 jobs across the country.

Implementing only a wholesale move of Channel 4 staff out of London, with no shift in programming spend, would deliver a £235m benefit and 3,400 jobs.

Meanwhile, choosing only to boost Channel 4’s out-of-London programming spend would create £300m in benefits and create 3,500 jobs.

The models also looked at cutting Channel 4’s staff by about 20 per cent, some 160 of its 800 staff.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said: "Channel 4, as a publicly owned broadcaster, should do more to support economic growth and provide for audiences outside of London.

“This independent analysis makes clear the potential benefits of Channel 4 increasing its impact outside the capital, and we hope to agree a way forward so that the broadcaster truly reflects and represents the full diversity of the UK.”

But David Abraham, the outgoing Channel 4 chief executive, described the proposal as "highly problematic" and expressed concerns that up to 80 per cent of the channel's 800-workforce could leave the organisation if a move happened.

Sheffield's bid leaders have previously revealed the move could be worth a whopping £1.4 billion to the city’s economy over the next 15 years and create 4050 jobs.

Sheffield bid leaders have earmarked vacant land near the railway station in Sheaf Square as a potential site to build Channel 4's new headquarters.

The broadcaster is also being offered 80, 000 sq ft of office space in the nearby Digital Campus on Sheaf Street.

The department for digital, culture, media and sport has not revealed a timetable yet for when a decision will be made on the proposed move.