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Channel 4 to launch competition for UK cities to host 'second' HQ

Channel 4 will echo Amazon’s manoeuvre in the United States by running a competition among British cities to host a "second headquarters”, as part of a package of measures to increase its impact outside London.
The taxpayer-owned broadcaster will move 300 jobs outside the capital including at a new “National HQ” following a long battle with the Government.
Two smaller “creative hubs” will also be set up and the proportion of its budget spent with non-London production companies will increase from 35pc to 50pc, equivalent to a cumulative increase of ?250m by 2023.
Cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Edinburgh have already expressed interest in hosting Channel 4 and will now be invited to formally bid for its investment. The majority of its 800 current staff will remain based at its main headquarters in Westminster, however.
The plans are a small-scale version of Amazon’s “second headquarters” competition in the United States, in which dozens of cities have pitched to host a new corporate centre for the online giant beyond its Seattle stronghold.
Alex Mahon, the broadcaster’s chief executive, said the “significant and exciting” changes will help Channel 4 better reflect Britain in its programming and offer people from different backgrounds a route into television. Once completed some time in 2019, the new Channel 4 locations will support 3,000 jobs in the regional creative industries, she added.
Channel 4 to launch competition for UK cities to host 'second' HQ

Alex Mahon, the chief executive of Channel 4, said the new sites would support thousands of jobs in the regional creative industries
The announcement marks the end of three years of wrangling over the future of Channel 4, which although owned by taxpayers is self-funding through advertising.
The Government considered and rejected privatising the broadcaster, before beginning a campaign to force its board to shift most of its operations to the regions. The Conservative manifesto pledged that “Channel 4 will be relocated out of London”.
Channel 4 chairman Charles Gurassa resisted moving the majority of the broadcaster, however, and last year said the Government would be forced to legislate to compel upheaval against its best interests.
Despite Channel 4’s refusal to relocate Matt Hancock, the Culture Secretary, said he was “delighted” with its plans.
He added: “I know that many parts of the UK will be excited to pitch to be the new home of C4. We want all parts of Britain to benefit from our amazing creative industries.”
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