Tories pause plans to sell off Channel 4 as new Culture Secretary to review decision 

Tories pause plans to sell off Channel 4 as new Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan wants to review decision

  • Culture Secretary said ‘business case’ for Channel 4 sale was being re-examined
  • Miss Donelan added current model of BBC funding was ‘completely outdated’
  • The government faced opposition from TV producers on privatising Channel 4

Plans to sell off Channel 4 have been thrown into doubt after the Culture Secretary said the ‘business case’ for the sale was being re-examined by Liz Truss’s Government.

The go-ahead to privatise the broadcaster was made by Nadine Dorries but her successor, Michelle Donelan, yesterday appeared to offer hope to those opposing the sale, by saying it was about ‘making sure that we still agree with that decision’.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Miss 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.’

She added: ‘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.

Plans to sell off Channel 4 have been thrown into doubt after the Culture Secretary said the ‘business case’ for the sale was being re-examined by Liz Truss’s Government

Plans to sell off Channel 4 have been thrown into doubt after the Culture Secretary said the ‘business case’ for the sale was being re-examined by Liz Truss’s Government

‘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 for manoeuvre’ regarding the privatisation, she insisted: ‘I think it just means that I’m looking at the business case but I will update you once I’ve done so.’ The MP for Chippenham was also asked about her plans for the BBC licence fee.

She told the Today programme it was important to make sure the BBC was ‘sustainable in the long term’ amid a changing ‘media landscape’ that now includes the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Culture Secretary, Michelle Donelan told the Today programme it was important to make sure the BBC was ‘sustainable in the long term’ amid a changing ‘media landscape’

Culture Secretary, Michelle Donelan told the Today programme it was important to make sure the BBC was ‘sustainable in the long term’ amid a changing ‘media landscape’ 

A review into the BBC’s funding was meant to begin before the Commons summer recess in July but was thrown into doubt after Boris Johnson resigned as Tory leader

A review into the BBC’s funding was meant to begin before the Commons summer recess in July but was thrown into doubt after Boris Johnson resigned as Tory leader

On Sky News, Miss Donelan said that she was looking at the licence fee, adding: ‘I’m somebody that listens, I’m somebody that decides policy based on evidence and that’s what I will be doing over the coming weeks.’ In January Miss Dorries announced the licence fee would be frozen at £159 until April 2024.

She also sounded the death knell for the current model of funding saying it was ‘completely outdated’.

A review into the BBC’s funding was meant to begin before the Commons summer recess in July but was thrown into doubt after Boris Johnson resigned as Tory leader.

The Government has faced opposition from TV producers over the move to privatise Channel 4 saying it could damage a ‘thriving industry’.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: ‘Channel 4 looks forward to working with the new Secretary of State as she examines options for Channel 4.’

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