Belfast Telegraph

West Midlands makes pitch to lure Channel 4 from London

A bid to bring broadcaster Channel 4 to the West Midlands has been launched with backers estimating the move could deliver a £5 billion economic windfall.

Regional leaders are supporting any possible relocation of the programme-maker outside of London after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport launched a consultation on the issue.

Leading the bid, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) said a move could generate £2.3 billion between 2021-2030, and another £2.7 billion indirectly.

West Midlands metro mayor Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, said a relocation would have a "genuinely transformative" effect on the area.

He added the broadcaster could "thrive" in the region, which is the youngest and most diverse in the UK.

Almost half of Birmingham's population is under 30, while nearby Coventry's population is seven years younger than the national average.

The WMCA believes it has a strong hand with the largest digital sector outside London, employing 25,000 people, and good transport links set to get a boost from the new HS2 high-speed rail line.

The bid does not identify an exact spot for any relocation, however two possible candidates are sites near planned HS2 rail hubs in Curzon Street, Birmingham, and Solihull, West Midlands.

Backing for the response to the consultation, Increasing The Regional Impact Of Channel 4 Corporation, comes from businesses and councils across the region.

Mr Street said: "If we are successful in persuading Channel 4 to relocate to the West Midlands, the impact on our region would be genuinely transformative.

"Not only would our creative and digital sectors receive a massive boost, but there would also be huge regeneration and investment benefits.

"The West Midlands offers the ideal opportunity for a relocated Channel 4.

"Our pitch is that Channel 4 could thrive here in the West Midlands and we stand ready to work in partnership with them to make a success of any move."

The Government has said it would consider all responses to the consultation, with the broadcaster, and determine the best way forward "to ensure that Channel 4 maximises its delivery of public value for the country as a whole".

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