The new Culture Secretary has cast doubt on the future of the Government’s plan to sell off Channel 4, saying it is re-examining the “business case” to make sure “we still agree with that decision”.
His decision to take Channel 4 out of public ownership was announced during the tenure of Michelle Donelan’s predecessor, Nadine Dorries, who spearheaded the controversial move during her time under Boris Johnson’s leadership. .
Ms Dorries announced she would step down as Culture Secretary after Mr Johnson’s departure earlier this month, with his successor as Prime Minister, Liz Truss, appointing Ms Donelan as the new Foreign Secretary for Digital, Culture Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, that Ms Truss’ government was reviewing the “business case” for the Channel 4 sale.
“We’re looking specifically at the business case for the Channel 4 sale and making sure we still agree with that decision and that’s what I’m doing,” she said.
“I am the kind of politician who bases their decisions on evidence, on their decisions to listen and that is what I will be doing in the coming weeks.
“I will take that approach when it comes to Channel 4 and every aspect of my brief.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, when asked if there was “a bit of room to maneuver” regarding the sale, she insisted: “I think it just means I’m looking at it. business situation but I will update you once I” have done so. “
Ms Donelan, who represents the Chippenham constituency, also dealing with the BBC’s licensing fee, said she would look into it “within” as she declined to say whether it could be scrapped.
Appearing on Sky News, she praised the coverage of the Queen’s death and funeral by both the BBC and Sky.
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But she also issued a warning to the national broadcaster about the future of license fees.
She said: “It is no secret that I have long been skeptical about royalties and that we need to make sure the BBC is sustainable over the long term. So I’m looking at this within.
“I’m a good listener, I’m an evidence-based policy maker and that’s what I’m going to do in the coming weeks.”
She declined to say outright whether the royalty fees should be waived, but said rival TV services from streaming channels such as Netflix and Amazon have raised questions about whether “the current model in which the BBC is Is usage truly sustainable in the long term and is providing that element of choice to the public”.
In January, Ms Dorries announced that the license fee would be frozen at £159 for the next two years until April 2024.
She said she wants to find a new funding model before her current contract expires in 2027 because it is “completely outdated”.
It really doesn’t make sense to try and find a solution to a problem that doesn’t existJohn McVay, Pact
The review was scheduled to begin before the Commons summer break on July 22 but was cast into doubt after Mr Johnson stepped down as Tory leader.
“The new prime minister has made it clear her priority is to drive growth,” said John McVay, chief executive of Pact, the trade body for independent film and television production companies.
“The privatization of Channel 4 would do the opposite, jeopardizing the future of thousands of British manufacturing companies and jeopardizing the future prospects of a thriving industry that is ubiquitous across the globe. country.
“It really doesn’t make any sense to try and find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and that is why I am delighted that the new Culture Secretary has committed to re-examining the business case to privatize Channel 4.”
Channel 4 has been contacted for comment.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/government-reviewing-business-case-for-privatising-c4-culture-secretary-42003194.html Government considers ‘business case’ to privatize C4 – Culture Minister