England

West Midlands submits bid for Channel 4 relocation

Channel 4 headquarters
Image caption WMCA expect a relocation to generate up to £5bn and 800 jobs in the region

A bid for broadcaster Channel 4 to relocate to the West Midlands has been officially launched.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) estimates a move could boost the region's economy by £5bn over 10 years.

A government consultation is considering whether the broadcaster should move out of the capital.

Metro mayor Andy Street said Channel 4 would "thrive" in the region due to its youthful population, and could create up to 800 jobs.

Sites have been proposed in Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and Dudley.

A consultation into the broadcaster's future was launched after the government carried out an 18-month review of the publicly-owned channel, which has more than 800 staff but fewer than 30 based outside central London.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said "the benefits of this national asset to be spread far and wide, not just in London" although Channel 4 has said a "substantial relocation would be highly damaging".

Launching his region's bid, Mr Street said: "The West Midlands, as the youngest, most diverse region, would naturally help in the journey [Channel 4] are already taking."

Image caption Mr Street said he is "very confident of our credentials"

He described the West Midlands' transport links to London as "one of our ace cards" and cited the success of other relocations to the region including HSBC and HS2 headquarters.

Mike Bradley, chairman of the Campaign for Regional Broadcasting Midlands, said: "The West Midlands is the ideal location for Channel 4," adding a relocation to the region would "place Channel 4 right at the heart of its audience."

Elsewhere, two Bradford MPs are calling on the broadcaster to move its HQ to West Yorkshire.

Last week, Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies told the House of Commons how the broadcaster should move to what he called "gritty" West Yorkshire.

And Keighley Labour MP John Grogan told BBC Radio Leeds about a possible joint Leeds-Bradford bid.

He said: "MPs in West Yorkshire are being asked to back a bid led by Screen Yorkshire, as I understand it, to bring Channel 4 to West Yorkshire.

"It would be a mixture of Leeds and Bradford. There would be, as I understand it, in Leeds, the main Channel 4 building, but also the idea is they also have a training academy and that would come in the plans to Bradford."

The government said it would consider all bids with the broadcaster "to ensure that Channel 4 maximises its delivery of public value".

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