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Street makes 4 hat-trick first goal of 2018

Street makes 4 hat-trick first goal of 2018

🕔11.Jan 2018

2017 was wrapped up with successes in the races to win the City of Culture and Commonwealth Games prizes for Coventry (2021) and Birmingham (2022) respectively.

The Metro Mayor had a hand in both – not least in underpinning the financial stability of the multi-sports jamboree with Government backing – but convincing Channel 4 to re-locate to Birmingham would be a personal victory for Mr Street, writes Kevin Johnson

Not only does Channel 4 have new management, so now does the Government department which oversees media policy.

Reshuffle Kerfuffle – what does it mean for the West Midlands?

Chamberlain Files understands that Mr Street has already developed a good relationship with Alex Mahon, the new Channel 4 CEO, and has been busily exchanging messages this week with new Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock.

Ms Mahon has not been as vocal about the undesirability of moving from Horseferry Road as her predecessor. Mr Hancock’s former boss at DCMS had made Channel 4 re-location a key priority – time will tell if the new Secretary of State feels the same.

The Mayor has asked the region’s creative community to send a message to bosses at Channel 4.

The campaign is being pursued by groups in the creative and tech sectors, such as Film Birmingham which says:

To make sure that Channel 4 are left in no doubt about the incredible talent we have across the region – a grassroots, guerrilla social media campaign is kicking off today to showcase everything we have to offer.

Their campaign message is that the West Midlands is “Young, Digital, Diverse” and that we can “Innovate, Create, Generate”. The activity is using the social media hashtag #WMGeneration.

Peaky Blinders creator Stephen Knight writes an impassioned case for moving Channel 4 to Birmingham in today’s Birmingham Mail, making location (especially post HS2) the main argument for bringing the broadcaster to the home of Thomas Shelby’s gang.

He points out that “moving to Birmingham isn’t hell at all.” Whether that will come as a surprise to some Channel 4 executives remains to be seen.

Four potential locations – Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry and Brierley Hill – were identified by the West Midlands Combined Authority as part of its submission to Government. Chamberlain Files understands that a base next to the HS2 terminus at Curzon Street is the most favoured of the region’s choices.

Mayor Street 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.

Mr Street is campaigning for a full re-location of the public service broadcaster, while other cities have made the case for a partial move.

It seems highly unlikely that the advertising sales team would be forced to move from London, but a compromise agreement to move departments – notably programme commissioners – somewhere seems likely given pressure from Government, if Mr Hancock maintains Karen Bradley’s approach.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the London Evening Standard this week that “A move out of London would undoubtedly lead to job losses in London and a disrupted Channel 4 operation for years to come.”

Last year, a former member of the BBC Trust said that moving the broadcaster to Birmingham, rather than Salford, would be “madness.” Professor Diane Coyle was made a CBE in the New Years Honours.

Channel 4 move to Birmingham would be “madness”

If Mr Street and his team – including the West Midlands Growth Company – pulls off the hat trick, he might consider suggesting Mr Hancock moves DCMS lock, stock and barrel to the region given its obvious appreciation of the benefits of the West Midlands.

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