Think tank warns of ‘limited’ benefit of Channel 4 move to Yorkshire

Leeds City Region shortlisted for Channel 4 HQ
Courtesy of Channel 4

New research has cast doubt over the economic benefits of Channel 4’s new northern HQ would have on the successful city.

This comes after a number of key cities across our region signalled their intention to bid to become the new home of Channel 4.

Hull, York, Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield have all thrown their respective hats into the ring.

However, think tank Centre for Cities has cautioned that cities bidding to be the broadcaster’s new HQ should not overestimate the economic benefits the move would bring.

The think tank has examined the economic impact of moving public sector jobs from London to other parts of the country.

In particular, it focussed on the BBC’s relocation of national operations to Salford back in 2011.

The broadcaster claimed the move would bring some 15,000 jobs to the wider region.

However, Centre for Cities’ report found that, although the relocation did result in a slew of new jobs in MediaCity, its overall impact on the wider region was limited.

This has cast doubt of the Government’s decision to relocated Channel 4 as well as any potential benefits it could mean for cities hoping to be its new base.

“The lesson for cities bidding to be the new home of Channel 4 is that if they are successful, they should not expect to see a major boost to their economies beyond the jobs that the relocation would directly bring,” said Paul Swinney, Principal Economist of Centre for Cities.

He added: “More broadly, cities need to weigh up the costs of efforts to attract public bodies and jobs, as these resources might be better used to address skills-gaps or improve transport infrastructure instead.

“If the Government is determined to relocate more public sector jobs across the country, it should move them to major cities which are already home to a large share of high-skilled workers and firms in related industries.”