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Channel 4 sell-off under fire after record-breaking financial performance

CHANNEL 4 privatisation plans have come under fire again after the broadcaster published a report showing its strongest ever financial performance.

Revenues topped £1 billion for the first time in its history and it enjoyed a record-breaking tax surplus of £101 million.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’s department admitted last week that it had pushed for changes to Channel 4’s annual report after it was accused of trying to force the broadcaster into making changes backing the case for privatisation.

Labour’s House of Lords shadow spokesperson for culture, media and sport Lord Bassam said: “Rather than trying to sex up Channel 4’s annual report to suit the privatisation agenda, is now not the time for the government to do a bit of a Lynton Crosby and scrape the barnacles off the boat and finally admit that neither the public, nor for that matter the Parliamentary Conservative Party want Channel 4 flogged off?”

Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby famously advised David Cameron’s Tories to “scrape the barnacles off the boat” to get the party ready for the next election.

We Own It lead campaigner Matthew Topham said: “Channel 4 is a thriving publicly owned asset in great financial health. Their record performance proves what we all already know — Channel 4 ain’t broke.

“Channel 4 doesn’t cost the taxpayer a penny, and its ever increasing financial success makes the case against privatisation even stronger.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said that despite the results “there’s been no change in government policy.”

A spokesperson for Tory leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak said: “Rishi will take forward Channel 4’s privatisation.

“Channel 4 is a crucial part of British broadcasting and supports our brilliant creative industries, but a lot has changed since the 1980s when it was set up to provide viewers with more choice.”

Liz Truss, the other remaining leadership candidate, is also understood to support privatisation of the broadcaster.

 

 

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