Rishi Sunak is poised to abandon the controversial privatisation of Channel 4 as the newly appointed prime minister looks to reduce the burden of an extensive legislative programme.
The latest attempt to privatise the broadcaster, which this week celebrated its 40th anniversary, began under Sunak’s predecessor but one Boris Johnson. Sunak had initially given his support to the proposals during his unsuccessful leadership bid in the summer. He believed that Channel 4 needed private funding in order to compete against the deep pockets of Amazon, Disney and Netflix.
The sell-off was already in doubt following the election of Liz Truss as prime minister and the departure of culture secretary Nadine Dorres.
Sunak has now begun a review of his campaign pledges and, according to the Financial Times, it now seems likely that he will attempt to quietly drop the policy that received widespread criticism from the broadcasting industry and disquiet from within the Tory party.
Culture secretary Michelle Donelan, who was appointed under Truss, said in September that she was looking at the business case for the sale of the commercially funded broadcaster.
Other parts of the broadcasting bill, designed to make the media landscape fit for the digital age look likely to continue.
These include giving due prominence to public service broadcasters within smart TVs.