In a decision branded “disappointing and hypocritical” by Mayor Joe Anderson, Liverpool will not be the home of Channel 4’s new national hub, leaving Greater Manchester the North West’s sole representative in a shortlist of six regions.
Anderson first broke the news via Twitter, saying that the bid had been impacted by the fact Liverpool was “not connected transport wise”.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram also tweeted about the “disappointing decision” and argued Channel 4’s move would have “strengthened our case to connect Liverpool via HS2 and West/East rail improvements”.
Sorry to announce Liverpool has not been shortlisted for C4 relocation or Hub. A huge thank you everyone who supported the bid👏 sad to be told a big problem was Liverpool not being connected transport wise. Exactly why not getting HS2 link is wrong😡and shortsighted.
— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) July 23, 2018
Liverpool had been one of seven regions across the UK shortlisted to house a new national hub, alongside Greater Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, and the West Midlands.
Channel 4 has confirmed this has been whittled down to three: Greater Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.
It had also been shortlisted for a creative hub, with six more regions – Belfast, Brighton, Newcastle-Gateshead, Nottingham, Sheffield, and Stoke-on-Trent. Liverpool has also missed out on this hub, which has again been cut to three: Bristol, Cardiff, and Glasgow.
A final selection is expected to be made in October this year.
In a statement, Anderson said: “Today’s decision by Channel 4 is disappointing and hypocritical. Their values are supposed to be about adding value, creating jobs, opportunities and growth, rather than choosing locations where the BBC or ITV are already.
“This was a chance for them to be truly vibrant and assist parts of the UK that need it the most. And they forgot those values.
“The city’s plans for developing its flourishing TV and Film sector remain on track, not least in creating one of Europe’s biggest studios at the former Littlewoods site. This bid has been a force for good as it has helped serve to strengthen relationships between the education and creative sectors and forge new partnerships which will serve Liverpool well over the coming years and decades.
“I would also like to thank everyone who worked on the bid and all those who supported it so enthusiastically.
“One of Channel 4’s reasons for not choosing Liverpool was due to connectivity issues which is a welcome confirmation, from a London-based organisation, of the damage a sustained lack of investment in the region’s infrastructure has done to our city by the failure of successive governments to listen to our fears and concerns.
“I have now written to the Minister for Transport to demand a meeting to address this issue. The current transport policy for the north is negatively impacting on the fortunes of cities like Liverpool and the potential to grow its economy, which will be even more important to the UK economy post-Brexit.
“In light of the billions being invested to better connect London, it is time Westminster and Whitehall wake up to the realities of overlooking the north and how it is limiting the future growth of UK plc.”
Greater Manchester remains the sole region in the North West in the running, with MediaCityUK at Salford Quays the obvious candidate for new facilities.
The move forms part of the channel’s 4 All the UK plan, which is a commitment from Channel 4 to significantly increase its ‘nations & regions’ content spend from its current quota of 35% to a target of 50% by 2023.
This is intended to result in a cumulative boost of over £250m in Channel 4’s nations & regions commissioning spend. When the strategy is fully implemented, 300 Channel 4 jobs will be based in the nations and regions, with the intention to grow that further.