‘Flawed’ consultation fails to offer impact assessment, economic analysis or cost benefit of privatisation

money maker

C4: The Money Maker

John McVay has urged the government to explain the rationale behind its proposals to sell Channel 4 and slammed the “repetitive” consultation for its “cut and paste flaws”.

Speaking to Broadcast for this week’s Newswrap podcast, the Pact chief executive said the document fails to inform taxpayers what they will receive in return for a C4 sale.

He criticised the consultation for lacking an impact assessment, economic analysis or cost benefit analysis, while failing to understand the economics of the TV industry and being “repetitive”, with a number of “cut and paste flaws”.

Broadcast’s C4 anti-privatisation campaign Not 4 Sale launched yesterday with support from 25 indie bosses, as former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson warned changing C4’s remit risks putting production companies out of business.

McVay said: “I think it’s shameful that the public interest doesn’t appear at all in this consultation document.

“I would have expected better from the people involved and I certainly would have expected better from a document published about a major cultural and creative institution like C4.

“If you’re looking to dispose of a major public asset which does an amazing job of funding creative ingenuity and UK IP then you have to describe the benefits not just to the shareholders who might buy it but to the public.”

While conceding that ministers can decide what to do with public assets, McVay stressed that it is the taxpayer who owns the broadcaster, not the government.

He accused Boris Johnson’s Conservatives of “trying to spoil our party” in the year that Pact celebrates its 30th birthday.

McVay shrugged off the suggestion that Pact’s public opposition to privatisation will impact relations with the government, having worked closely with ministers on the Production Restart Scheme and Brexit deals.

“I’ve been critical of the government’s approach to free trade agreements but that doesn’t stop us working with the Department for Trade in terms of helping companies,” he said.

“You have to be professional about what is a good thing and what is something you disagree with.”


To listen to the full John McVay interview, check out Broadcast Newswrap, published later today.

Click to join Broadcast’s C4 anti-privatisation campaign Not 4 Sale