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UK creatives oppose C4 privatisation

June 13, 2022

By Colin Mann

The Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) has written to the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, to urge her to reconsider the Government’s plans to privatise Channel 4.

The FEU, who together represent over 120,000 UK creative workers, is dismayed at the Government’s plans to sell the publicly owned broadcaster to a private company and has urged the Secretary of State to reconsider the sale of this much-loved, highly successful cultural asset.

The FEU is deeply concerned that the sale of such a profitable network will have major consequences for the UK broadcasting landscape, and will deal a major blow to the UK’s creative workforce, who are critical to the success of the broadcasting sector.

Independent analysis by Ernst and Young LPP indicates that the creative industries could be £2 billion worse off under privatisation, as well as 2,400 jobs in the creative industries being at risk and at least 60 production companies at risk of closure.

According to the FEU, privatisation would also jeopardise the significant contribution the broadcaster makes to the Government’s levelling up agenda via its investment that is spread across the nations and regions, including opening regional headquarters, job creation and new opportunities for film and TV workers across the country.

The letter is signed by Bectu, Equity, the National Union of Journalists, the Musicians’ Union and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.

“Channel 4 costs the UK taxpayer precisely nothing, yet gives us a thriving independent production sector, thousands of jobs and world-renowned, innovative content,” asserts Philippa Childs, FEU President and Head of Bectu.

“Selling this much-loved and entirely self-sustaining public service broadcaster will deal a major blow to the creative industries, who were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and continue to face a chronic skills shortage, and have major consequences for the UK broadcasting landscape.”

“On behalf of our over 120,000 members and the UK’s creative workforce, we call on the Secretary of State to keep this uniquely British institution in public hands. Industry, workers and the public have made their opposition clear, it’s now time that the Government listens.”

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