Liz Truss’s government will “re-examine” the case for the sale of Channel 4 , a Cabinet minister has said. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said the review would look at whether the government wishes to go ahead with the sell-off. Evening Standard: Liz Truss government to ‘re-examine’ business case for sale of Channel 4
The argument for selling Channel 4 will be “re-examined” by Liz Truss’ cabinet, a Cabinet minister has said. In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said the evaluation would determine if the government wanted to go through with the sell-off.
Nadine Dorries, the former administration’s culture secretary, had previously declared her intentions to privatise the broadcaster and freeze its licence price.
However, Ms Donelan said: “We are looking especially at the business case for the sale of Channel 4 and making sure that we still agree with that decision, and that is what I am doing.”
“I’m the type of politician that bases their decisions on evidence, that bases their decisions on listening and that’s what I will be doing over the coming weeks.”
“I will take that approach when it comes to Channel 4 and every aspect of my brief.”
“I think it just means that I’m looking at the business case but I will update you once I’ve done so” she asserted when questioned on BBC Breakfast whether there was “a bit of room for manoeuvre” over the sale.
While hesitant to say if the BBC licence fee might be abolished, Ms Donelan, who represents the Chippenham constituency, said that she would look “in the round” at the issue.
In a statement on Tuesday, she added: “It is no secret that I have been a long-term sceptic of the licence fee and that we need to make sure that the BBC is sustainable in the long term.”
According to Ms Dorries’ announcement in January, the licence fee will remain at £159 for the next two years, until April 2024. She stated that the current agreement is “completely outdated,” and that she intends to establish a new financing mechanism before it expires in 2027.
The inquiry was supposed to start before the Commons summer break on July 22, but with Mr Johnson’s departure as Tory leader, it became uncertain whether it would actually happen.
According to John McVay, CEO of Pact, the trade association for independent TV and film production companies: “The new Prime Minister has made it clear her priority is to drive growth.”
“Privatising Channel 4 would do the opposite, endangering the future of thousands of British production companies and endangering the future prospects of a thriving industry which has a presence right across the country.”
“It literally makes no 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 for privatising Channel 4.”