Government should 'make sure that Channel 4 stays in Leeds' if they 'really believe in levelling up' MP says
The Government should “make sure that Channel 4 stays in Leeds” if they “really believe in levelling up” a Yorkshire MP has said, as questions remain on the future of the station.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told the Commons that “we love Leeds” when asked about guaranteeing the future of the broadcaster for the good of the north of England.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday lunchtime, Labour MP for Huddersfield Barry Sheerman addressed Mr Raab - standing in for Boris Johnson - and said: “He represents one of the wealthiest constituencies in the country.
“Can he assure me that he still believes in the redistribution of income in our country, does he really believe in levelling up?
“If he does, will make sure that Channel 4 stays in Leeds, stays in the public sector because it's essential in the growth of our tech economy in the north of England.”
Standing at the despatch box while the Prime Minister is on a foreign trip, Mr Raab responded: “We put the UK infrastructure bank in Leeds because we love Leeds.”
He added: “[Mr Sheerman] asks about inequality and levelling up. The levelling up agenda will of course help those in the Midlands, those in the north, but it will also help those in London and the South East by easing the pressure on the economy, easing the pressure on tax revenues and by easing the pressure on planning.”
At present the Channel 4 is owned by the Government and receives its funding from advertising.
The Government has said it is consulting on privatisation because it wants to ensure the long-term survival of the channel.
During the weekly Commons joust, Mr Raab faced Labour calls to guarantee that nobody will lose their energy supply or be forced into fuel poverty this winter as the cost of living crisis continues to grow.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner repeatedly sought assurances over supplies while also pressing Mr Raab to cancel the removal of the £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit.
Ms Rayner accused the Government of hitting the pockets of working families by “cutting the income of a worker on £18,000 a year by over £1,100” with tax rises.
Ms Rayner said: “That is almost exactly the same as an average annual energy bill. Just as energy prices are ballooning they have chosen to take the money that could cover a year’s worth of bills out of the pockets of working people.
“The Deputy Prime Minister has said the solution is for people to work harder. So, can he tell us how many days a worker on the minimum wage would have to work this year in order to afford a night at a luxury hotel, say in Crete?”