Chairman predicts thousands of jobs losses amid claims consultation lacks evidence

Charles Gurassa

Charles Gurassa

Channel 4 chair Charles Gurassa has written to culture secretary Oliver Dowden outlining the “irreversible damage” a sell-off would have on the creative economy and audiences.

In the three-page letter sent yesterday (20 July), Gurassa cited the lack of evidence supporting the justification for a sale in the government’s consultation document and hinted that the board may consider stepping down if plans are enacted.

“The lack of any detailed analysis, evidence or impact assessment leaves us as a board deeply concerned given our statutory responsibility to deliver Channel 4’s remit,” he said.

Gurassa cast doubt on the government assertion that a private investor would create “more content and more jobs” and claimed that the opposite is more likely.

“We have serious concerns that the consequences will be very harmful, both to the UK’s creative economy and to the choice and breadth of distinctive British-made content available to UK audiences,” he said.

The lack of any analysis of the potentially drastic impact of scrapping C4’s publisher-broadcaster model, in favour of enabling a future owner to produce programming in-house, was also called into question.

“[Such] changes could irreversibly damage a hugely successful part of the UK economy and put at risk thousands of jobs in our world leading creative sector,” he said.

Gurassa also queried the document’s position that C4 would be better able to deliver its commitments to take creative risks and serve younger audiences if in private hands.

“There is nothing in the consultation that explains how privatisation would aid the delivery of our remit or public purpose, and it is laden with risk of significantly damaging our ability to do so,” he said.

The 10-week consultation into the future of C4 was launched by the DCMS earlier this month and closes on 14 September, ahead of the publication of a white paper outlining its findings.


Broadcast’s Not 4 Sale anti-privatisation campaign has attracted signatories from close to 140 indie bosses, along with a clutch of industry-wide organisations.

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