Media & PR

Selling off Channel 4 would be a dogmatic act of cultural vandalism – Vince Cable

Writing for The Guardian, Vince Cable said:

The chancellor’s determination to balance the books depends on asset disposals, ranging from the gargantuan sell-off of RBS to the small but important and controversial example of Channel 4.

My approach to asset sales when I was in office was pragmatic. The issue of whether assets should be privatised or nationalised should depend on the merits of individual cases rather than dogma. I advocated the nationalisation of banks in the financial crisis of 2008 and their gradual return to private ownership, including the sale, at a profit, of Lloyds shares, the bank having demonstrated a commitment to wider economic objectives such as lending to small businesses. RBS should follow the same trajectory in due course…

I also stopped the sale of C4 and a clutch of bodies such as the Met Office, the Land Registry, Companies House and Ordnance Survey, which were already acquiring a more commercial and innovative edge as independent agencies, on top of their public interest function for business and wider society. The Treasury obsession with selling off the family silver to realise cash quickly, regardless of merit or the wider public interest, clashed with my approach and the transfer of the shareholder executive to the Treasury was one of the first acts of the new Tory government…

A sale [of Channel 4] would imperil the effective operation of the UK’s TV industry; plurality would be reduced and the BBC, itself in retreat, would be left as the sole meaningful provider of public service broadcasting.

A reminder of what the Lib Dems achieved in government is this news from 2014 when the Lib Dems blocked privatisation of Channel 4:

Proposals to privatise Channel 4 were drawn up by the Government earlier this year but the idea was blocked by Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats…

The proposals to privatise Channel 4 secretly “went round the houses” in Whitehall until it reached the Department for Business earlier this year, government sources said, where the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, “squashed it, he said ‘no way’”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments and data you submit with them will be handled in line with the privacy and moderation policies.