Channel 4 move should bring jobs for local people, says LEP chair

West Yorkshire should “not be complacent” when it comes to pushing for job opportunities for local people following Channel 4’s impending move to Leeds.

LEP Chair Roger Marsh
LEP Chair Roger Marsh

The broadcaster made the decision to move to the city last November, following a lengthy bid process which saw the city battle it out with Manchester and Birmingham.

Roger Marsh, chair of Leeds Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said he hoped the move would help to create job opportunities in the region in addition to moving staff members from Channel 4’s current London base.

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Mr Marsh told a meeting of the LEP board: “While the numbers for Channel 4 are relatively small, it’s more about the effect that the move has.

LEP Chair Roger Marsh

“For them to come here and to bring their news here – particularly for young people – is pretty huge.

“We need to make sure it isn’t just about relocation from London. Companies like Burberry and Perform group, for example, brings some of those jobs from London, but has opportunities for people here too.

“It could even bring people out of Salford Quays [the location of Media City UK] into Leeds. It would be foolish to say it will be thousands of jobs but it will certainly be hundreds.”

Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan told the meeting on Thursday: “We wouldn’t have won without a regional bid, getting Bradford, York and all the sectors behind it.

“It’s been very easy to work with them – there are practical examples of wanting to draw from right across the region and it’s a great opportunity for people.”

Mr Marsh concluded: “We should be pleased with our success but not get complacent.

“This is a game-changer. We need to make sure this really does work for everybody.

“Channel 4 was set up to be different. Coming to this side of the Pennines re-emphasises what they are all about. It is important that we pick up that inclusive growth, whether it be LGBT, disabled or otherwise.”