'Baffling': Jake Humphrey on proposed Channel 4 privatisation plans

Jake Humphrey has spoken out about sexism towards female sports pundits.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Jake Humphrey has called the government's intention to privatise Channel 4 a "baffling" decision. - Credit: Archant

Television presenter Jake Humphrey has called the government's intention to privatise Channel 4 a "baffling" decision.

The 43-year-old, who presents football on BT Sport and lives in Norfolk, said he "can't understand" why the government would want to privatise the channel.

He said: "Across the board, Channel 4 is a brilliant business. It doesn't drain money from the taxpayer - it pumps billions of pounds into the economy every year.

"That's why I'm so baffled about the government's intention to sell off Channel 4. I don't know what Channel 4 could be doing better."

The government confirmed on Monday, April 4 that it will proceed with plans to privatise Channel 4, which has been publicly owned since it was founded in 1982 and is funded by advertising.

Health minister Nadine Dorries. Pic: PA Wire

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries. - Credit: PA

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said that while Channel 4 held a “cherished place in British life” she felt that public ownership was holding the broadcaster back from “competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon”.

But Mr Humphrey said he "rates" Channel 4 for what it has done for the industry and believes its relocation to Leeds has been successful.

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He added: They make exciting, dynamic, creative programming and do it without being a drain on the public purse. They do it having moved to one of the regions in Yorkshire and putting billions back into the British economy.

"They are a true broadcasting success story and I can't understand the government's decision to do anything to damage that. Channel 4 as is today is in a perfect place."

Mr Humphrey added that Channel 4 is a rare levelling up success story at a time "where the government are talking about sharing the wealth out across the country".

Plans for the sale will reportedly be set out in a white paper later this month and will be included in a new media bill for next spring.

New health secretary Sajid Javid addressed the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

Health secretary Sajid Javid - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Speaking on Wednesday, April 6 to LBC Radio, health secretary Sajid Javid insisted the network’s privatisation will set it free.

He said: “You must think carefully about why could it be better off being sold, and the reason is that, to compete properly, it needs to be able to raise its own funds and capital, whether that’s debt or equity, to do that in a way that it can properly compete in a vastly changing media landscape.

“This will set Channel 4 free."