Channel 4 is off to Leeds! Industrial change in the UK
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Cartoon debrief: The Big Move North!
· Within a year, Channel 4 will have moved its national HQ to Leeds.
· This bold move will see around 200 members of staff swap the capital city London for cosmopolitan Leeds, a cultural hub for northern England and voted the 5th best city in Lonely Planet’s 2017 guide!
· Leeds fought off competition from 30 UK cities in all.
· This is part of a government-backed initiative to try to counter the London-centricity of British television
An important relocation – just ask Milan or Hamburg!
The revival of any modern national economy depends upon its regional cities.
In 2002, geographer Richard Florida pin-pointed the role of the creative industries as ‘the yeast’ required for city centre renewal. It meant inner city gentrification and supporting the arts, museums and universities would be the ‘magnets’ to attract the new mobile service sector.
Northern England’s two chief economic centres, Leeds and Manchester, should be prospering in an equivalent way to cities such as Hamburg and Milan, but they are not - yet.
· However, Leeds, with a metro population of 1.7 million, has grown into England’s biggest base for banking, financial services and law firms outside London.
· It is emerging as the capital of a new & confident “One Yorkshire”.
· It is hoped that by adding Channel 4 to the Canalside media encampment that already holds the BBC’s and ITV’s northern power base this would help create a sort of Hollywood of the British north-west.
· The challenge now, is to ensure that this does not just mean a relocation of 200 jobs from London staff up to Leeds, but that real regional representation is sought out. Similarly, the criticism of Channel4 being too southern English will need to be met through considering regionally and locally relevant programming that can reflect the cultural diversity of Leeds and Yorkshire, whilst being also of national interest.
Channel 4 has revealed why Leeds was seen as a better option than either Manchester or Birmingham, or another 27 UK cities, because Leeds had:
· a willingness to support growth in the production and creative industries
· a thriving digital industry and a strong digital talent pool - Leeds is popular with the digital sector, being home to over 3,500 digital and technology companies. Over 102,000 people work across the digital sector in Leeds City Region,
· the promise of nurturing new talent from diverse backgrounds – in the region and across the UK.
· a strong and fast-growing independent production sector across the North of England
· a proximity to Northern Powerhouses: Bradford, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield
· a passion to work with educational establishments.
· Leeds had also lost out the most when regional Yorkshire TV and ITV was replaced and lost out to Manchester’s Granada tv
Alex Mahon, Channel 4 chief executive said: “Leeds put forward a compelling and ambitious strategy for how they could work alongside Channel 4”
Government pressure on business location:
The move has come about after pressure from the government to boost the broadcaster's presence outside London.
The Government put relocation of cultural media into its 2017 general election manifesto, and pushed for a full move away from London. But Channel 4 chairman Charles Gurassa had warned that a full or substantial relocation would cause "significant difficulties and problems for Channel 4".
It has now settled on a compromise that will send almost 40% of jobs out of the London area into Leeds.
Culture secretary Jeremy Wright said: "The government made clear that Channel 4 needed to do more to increase its presence in the regions to help better reflect and provide for UK audiences outside of London. "Congratulations to Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow, and I look forward to Channel 4 taking further steps to increase its impact around the UK in the years ahead."
Response from the winners:
Tom Riordan, CEO of Leeds City Council tweeted:
“We’ve done it! The best news today that @Channel4’s national HQ will be in #Leeds. THANK YOU so much to all involved in this brilliant pitch, from Bradford, York and @leedscityregion to @screenyorkshire @truenorth and @allinleeds! #allinleeds #4sparks”
Response from the Losers!
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street described the news as a "huge disappointment" but stressed that the work that has gone into the bid has not been wasted:
“Clearly the news that Birmingham has not been successful in the Channel 4 bidding process is a huge disappointment. However, the work that has gone into the bid has not been wasted. As we progressed through we saw a growing sense of collaboration and commitment across the region.”
Mayor Andy Burnham tweeted from Manchester Town Hall:
“Congratulations to Leeds on becoming the home of Channel 4’s new National HQ, and to Glasgow and Bristol on their success. We are, of course, disappointed that Greater Manchester will not be the new home of Channel 4 but we are proud of the bid process we ran #Channel4”
AQA Geography GCSE syllabus links:
“Major changes in the economy of the UK have affected, and will continue to affect, employment patterns and regional growth.”
Economic futures in the UK:
· The causes of economic change: de-industrialisation and decline of traditional industrial base, globalisation and government policies moving towards a post-industrial economy: development of information technology, service industries, finance, research, science and business parks
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