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Statement from the leader of Leeds City Council on the upcoming Channel 4 progress report being presented to Executive Board


Following on from the landmark moment of Channel 4 choosing Leeds as the location for its national HQ, the council’s executive board will meet next week (Wednesday 21 November) to discuss next steps and the wider impact this decision has on the screen and creative sectors in the Leeds City Region.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “The announcement by Channel 4 to locate their national HQ in Leeds was a breakthrough moment for the city and the start of a truly formidable partnership with the major broadcaster.

“Moving forward from the announcement, we are working closely with Channel 4 to ensure we use the momentum the news has generated as a catalyst for wider transformation of the TV/Film and creative sectors across the city region, as well as a chance to boost our economy, create more local jobs and create opportunities for our young people to further enhance the diversity of the sector.

“Leeds and the city region have a unique opportunity which will allow a huge host of benefits to be recognised by the wider ecosystem and must not be missed. As a partnership, we will work proactively to make sure Channel 4’s influence is felt within in the city region, especially Bradford and York and across the wider North and East of the country.

We will be looking to develop initiatives which will maximise the investment benefits of Channels 4’s decision, be that through developing new skills and training initiatives within the TV/Film sector, working with schools and education providers, as well as looking at expanding the TV, film and production capacity in Leeds.

“There are very exciting times ahead, and we look forward to the huge impact this will have on a number of sectors in the city, and look forward to seeing this come to fruition in the near future.”

The Channel 4 decision to relocate outside London will ultimately provide for 300 Channel 4 jobs across the Nations and Regions, with up to 250 jobs being based in the Leeds National Headquarters. Channel 4’s spend on shows made by TV production companies based outside London will rise by £250m by 2023, which it is anticipated will support over 3,000 production jobs. Early estimates from the Combined Authority are that the decision will contribute to over 1,200 new jobs in the next ten years and a cumulative impact of £1.2bn to the Leeds City Region economy.

Leeds is already a thriving centre for the screen industries; the first moving image was shot on Leeds Bridge in 1888 by Louis Le Prince and this year the city celebrates 50 years of television production with the anniversary of YTV and BBC Look North.

Across the city region, almost 53,000 people work in the creative industries, film and TV companies in Yorkshire have an annual turnover of £242m and the sector here is growing at a faster rate than the national average. There is an opportunity to expand film production in the city building on our existing base, and this is recognised as a priority in the Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy as one of five Transformational Projects to help deliver the national industrial strategy.

To view the report being taken to Leeds City Council’s November executive board click here