Leeds MP Rachel Reeves says she is ‘astonished’ after learning that the vast majority of the staff moving out of London will leave the company rather than relocate to Leeds.
After the news broke that 70 to 90 per cent of staff currently working in London Channel 4 roles that are being moved to Leeds will choose to leave the company instead of move to Leeds, MP Rachel Reeves made her reaction public.
Rachel Reeves MP said: “I was astonished to read that up to 80% of Channel 4’s workforce would rather quit than move to Leeds.
“Channel 4 chose our fantastic city over places like Birmingham and Manchester for lots of reasons. As the broadcaster itself said, the move will help Channel 4 “reach new stories, ideas and talent” and “deliver new creative and commercial benefits”, generating jobs and growth in the creative economy.
“I couldn’t have put it better. There are loads of talented people in Leeds and across Yorkshire who would jump at the chance to work with Channel 4. It will be a great chance to help build a new skills base in our region and draw in further investment and jobs.
“And, to those people working for Channel 4 in London at the moment who are wondering whether to relocate, I’d encourage them to give Leeds a go. It’s a brilliant place to live and work!”
Channel 4 today explained some of the reasons it has to explain why so many staff currently working in roles being shifted from London to Leeds have chosen not to move up north.
The broadcaster is shifting its base outside the capital, where it currently has around 800 people on the payroll.
Around 300 jobs are moving outside the M25, but the broadcaster expects up to 90% of the north-bound roles will not be taken up by current staff.
Leeds will become the new headquarters for the broadcaster, with around 250 roles moving to the Yorkshire city, and hubs also being established in Glasgow and Bristol.
Channel 4 has confirmed it expects to recruit heavily with a large section of its workforce likely to refuse a move outside the M25, and that new offices will officially open in October of 2019.
The broadcaster has said it could create up to 3,000 jobs as a result of its move.
Chief executive Alex Mahon, who is expected to be in Leeds one day a week, said: “We’ve always expected and always been very clear that previous moves by the BBC have shown us that 70% to 90% of people won’t be able to take up the jobs, or won’t choose to.
“We expect it to be closely in line with that.”
Mahon cited reasons for the unwillingness to move, including employees being in dual-income families in London and being unable to leave.
Channel 4 has said that the move will open the broadcaster up to voices beyond the M25, and fulfil its public service remit to represent the regions and nations of the UK.
The broadcaster has also said it expects to provide an economic boost through both the recruitment and the cash moved outside of London.
Mahon added: “The great thing about that, it makes for lots of jobs available in the new locations.
“And we’ve always been clear that we expected to do quite a lot of recruitment. It’s not the Channel 4 jobs it’s the spend that we put outside of London that makes a massive difference.”
Channel 4 has promised a visible presence in the new headquarters, which will be based in an old nightclub, the Majestic building.