New Channel 4 HQ to be in Leeds City Region (maybe just Leeds)

Local politicians estimate that siting the HQ in Leeds “will bring 1,285 jobs and £1.2bn to the area over 10 years”.

Channel 4 announced its 4 All the UK strategy in March 2018, “the biggest change to the structure of the organisation in its 35-year history. At the heart of it is a significant increase in the organisation’s Nations and Regions content spend – from 35% to 50% of main channel UK commissions by 2023, worth up to £250m more in total. 

This increase in Channel 4’s spend will benefit all areas of the UK, not just the specific locations and will support up to 3,000 production jobs in the Nations and Regions economy.

The new National HQ and Creative Hubs will be home to 300 Channel 4 jobs when fully established, including key creative decision makers – responsible for commissioning Channel 4 content and programmes from producers right across the UK.

“Naked Attraction” from Channel 4

The new bases are at the heart of a new plan ‘4 All the UK’ to ensure that Channel 4 better represents all the UK, on and off-screen – and they will help catalyse the increased Nations and Regions production spend”.

Channel 4 programmes have attracted controversy in the past with some saying that they are dumbing down TV content. Currently they’re screening “Naked Attraction” a show where contestants select a potential partner based solely on their nude appearance.

The York Councils Chief Executive has said today, “The possibilities this will bring to York and the surrounding region ……are surely endless.”

In fairness Channel 4 also has a reputation for cutting edge film, drama and documentary work.

Quite how much of the promised economic growth will reach York – which already has full employment levels – remains to be seen.

West Yorkshire Joint Authority – where is York’s money going?

The first meeting of the Joint Authorities investment committee takes place next week. Although an agenda has been published for the meeting which will take place in Leeds, we doubt if many York residents know of its existence.

We believe that the York Council should publicise details of this organisations meetings in the same way that it does its own

closed doorsThe committee will for example discuss a Strategic Economic Plan

Residents, looking for an assurance that the money being invested by York in the regional transport fund will bring early benefits to York, will be disappointed. A report makes little reference to York concentrating on West Yorkshire projects.

A further report on the introduction of superfast Broadband access to York says,

In York the situation is slightly different in that the current programme is being delivered by North Yorkshire County Council by its wholly owned company NYNET which has ownership of the delivery contract with BDUK. The NYNET contract together with BT’s own commercial investment is forecast to achieve 96% coverage in York by the end of 2014. However, as set out below, the proposal going forward is for York to be part of a joint new programme in collaboration with West Yorkshire”

The report is largely opaque failing to identify communities which do have superfast broadband access and the timetable for those that will be added over the coming months (and years).

With York lagging behind the rest of the Leeds City Region in gaining access to 4G mobile phone networks, there will be a fear that the City will not get value for money from its broadband budget.

All the members of this committee are Labour. York is represented by Cllr “Leftie” Levene, the well known Republican, who allegedly needs a Sat. Nav. to find the bathroom.

Meanwhile there has been some speculation in the media that York’s bid for the HS2 rail college could be  unsuccessful with others in the “Leeds City Region” touting for the project. The Joint Authority has not discussed the issue although its transport chair issued a media release in April