The race to attract Channel 4 to the West Midlands has stepped up a gear with Andy Street throwing down the gauntlet to the region’s creative community to send a message to bosses at the station.
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 their submission to Government.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who has been leading the regional campaign, said the time was right for the entire region to demonstrate their desire for the station to demonstrate it is the right choice.
Andy 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 have calculated that a Channel 4 relocation could directly generate £2.3 billion of gross value added (GVA) between 2021 and 2030. It would also create £2.7 billion of indirect GVA during the same period, by catalysing wider growth and clustering across the region’s creative and tech sectors.
“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.
“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.
“I believe a decision will be made very soon indeed by the Channel 4 and therefore it is essential that we strike now.
“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.
“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.
“In particular, it is important our creative and tech businesses make their voices heard in the capital.
“In the weeks to come, we will be looking to step up this momentum and take the message to Channel 4 that the West Midlands is the only choice for the station’s new home.”