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Channel 4: Up to 90% of moving London staff will not take jobs in Leeds

Channel 4 is moving its main headquarters to Leeds (Philip Toscano/PA)
Channel 4 is moving its main headquarters to Leeds (Philip Toscano/PA)

Channel 4 has confirmed that around 90% of its outgoing London workforce will seek redundancy rather than move to Leeds.

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.

General views of Channel 4 office – London
Channel 4 will have bases in Leeds, Glasgow and Bristol (Lewis Whyld/PA)

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 said: “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.

Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, which led the winning bid, and Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said the forthcoming relocation of the broadcaster had already had a positive effect on the city, with other companies also choosing to move to the region.

Mr Marsh said: “We are working in partnership with Channel 4 to welcome those staff who choose to relocate to the Leeds City Region and we are excited about the range of roles that will also be available at the new national headquarters.

“We have always been clear the positive impact of Channel 4’s move will extend well beyond those staff it employs directly and we are already seeing that happen with a succession of creative companies announcing they are coming to our region.”

Ms Blake added: “We will continue to work closely with Channel 4 and we are fully committed to supporting them with their forthcoming relocation, including looking at recruiting new talent from the city and wider region as they announce a number of new and varied roles in the coming months.

“We have already seen the positive effect that the announcement of Channel 4 coming to the city has had on our thriving and expanding creative sector, with Pact opening a new office in the city along with a number of production companies expanding or locating into Leeds.

“We are keen to continue to build on this momentum and support this sector and others to make the very most of the opportunities that are coming to the city.”

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