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Lords to question outgoing chairman of Channel 4


In a one-off evidence session tomorrow, the House of Lords Communications Committee will question Lord Burns GCB, the former Chairman of Channel 4 Television.

Lord Burns was appointed Chairman in January 2010, with his six-year term at the helm coming to an end on 26 January this year.  During his Chairmanship, Channel 4 recorded an increase in its all-time viewing share of 5.92%, the first increase in viewing share since 2006. The broadcaster has also seen a return to financial surplus, with revenues up year-on-year.

He began his career in 1965 at the London Business School, becoming Professor of Economics in 1979. In 1980, he was appointed Chief Economic Advisor to the Treasury and Head of the Government Economic Service. In 1991 he became Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, a post he held until 1998, when he was appointed a life peer.

Issues the Committee are likely to explore with Lord Burns include:

  • what he identifies as his key achievements during his six-year tenure, and what he would like to see Channel 4 achieve in future;
  • his views on the possible privatisation of Channel 4 and what effect this could have on the UK's wider broadcasting industry;
  • what he identifies as the key elements which have led to the creative and financial success that Channel 4 enjoyed in 2015;
  • whether the Government's strategy for public service broadcasting is sufficiently focussed, or whether there are areas that should be prioritised; and
  • his hopes for the BBC following the outcome of this year's Charter Renewal.

The evidence session will take place on Tuesday 2 February at 3.30pm in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

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