Image: © Andrew Curtis

Channel 4 has opened a new HQ in Leeds

It's GBBO up north

Will it help heal England's North-South divide?

What it means: Channel 4, which makes TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and Countdown says it wants to be less London-focused, and as such has decided to set up a new HQ in Leeds and relocate about 200 of its staff there. (It’s keeping its London HQ too). It’s also increasing the money it spends on non-London programmes by £250 million, bringing the percentage of its programme budget it spends outside the capital to half (up from 35 percent now).

England is known for having a North-South divide, where the south of the country, and especially London, gets significantly more investmenttransport linkswealthjobs and government attention than the northern bits. This has a big impact on people’s lives: Southerners tend to be thinner, healthier, richer and happier than their Northern counterparts. Unsurprisingly, plenty of Northerners think that’s a bit of a raw deal, so the government keeps promising to spend more money in these regions, as well as to encourage more businesses and wealth to head up there.

Channel 4 says that by relocating part of its business up north it thinks it’ll be able to improve diversity and be “more in touch” with the rest of the UK outside London. People are also hoping that Channel 4’s new HQ and spending plans will bring lots of new jobs and investment to Leeds. It’s not only that more Northerners may work in the media industry if there are local job opportunities (though many people would like to see more regional accents on TV), but that jobs and companies will be created around the media business: perhaps a new cafe to serve workers on their lunch break, or lots of builders being hired to help refurb the new buildings.

Read our explainer on economic inequality.

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