Channel 4’s rejected ‘leveling up’ plan involved training 100k new staff and investing outside London

Channel 4 bosses produced a “leveling-up” themed 10-year strategy focusing on investment and recruitment in “areas that feel forgotten” in a last-ditch attempt to avoid privatization, in can reveal.

The three documents, handed to the Government in February, contained plans to “move away from the status quo” and revamp the channel to ensure it was producing maximum value for the public.

In a bid to woo ministers under Boris Johnson’s government, the strategy set out ways to invest in regions outside London and train 100,000 new staff in the next decade.

Former Channel 4 News editor Steven Purvis – who has seen the documents – said bosses made the plan in response to “the public conversation” around left behind parts of the country and to appeal to the Government’s leveling up agenda.

But, he said, ministers had “not entertained the detail” in the plans at all.

A DCMS source said: “The Channel 4 proposals were interrogated for months by policy experts, and were found to be neither convincing nor to have significant impact on the long term future of the broadcaster under its current model. This is stuff Channel 4 should have been doing already for years. ”

Announcing her intention to sell the broadcaster in a series of tweets on Monday, during Parliamentary recess, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said privatizing the broadcaster would give it “the tools and freedom to flourish”.

But there has been skepticism as to what the political motivation for the sale could be, given Channel 4 past criticism of Boris Johnson’s government.

“The fact they have not engaged in the plans is revealing,” Mr Purvis said. “They do not want to go into this level of detail.”

“That has led people to think there is something else the Government has against the channel,” he added. “Is it that it’s already got two public broadcasters and wants to reduce that?”

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Writing for inMr Purvis said the strategy was aimed at doing “more to address the priorities of the Government: leveling up and supporting Britain’s world-beating TV production industry”.

The plans were ultimately rejected by the Government and have not been made public, although they have been circulated among some Tory MPs – including members of the Culture Media and Sport select committee.

Mr Purvis said the strategy would see Channel 4 “recruit more and more of its staff outside London to bases in Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow”.

And it would invest in making shows “that reflect British life wherever it is lived, spending an extra £ 2bn over 10 years on making shows in Britain’s nations and regions and creating thousands of new jobs in parts of the country that feel forgotten in the 21st century ”.

“Not only that, they planned to create a national training scheme that in the next decade would give 100,000 young people, the vast majority outside London, the chance of making a career in the creative industries,” he said.

The strategy would see Channel 4 generating £ 3bn more in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy than privatization would, he added.

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