Channel 4 result a bump in the road

Risk-aversion the determining factor in city's bid failure; asset acquisition the key for our future competitiveness

Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 27th, Jul

The news of Liverpool’s unsuccessful bid to attract Channel 4 to the city was understandably disappointing to all. Yet the announced shortlist of Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham demonstrates the somewhat risk-averse decision making at play with C4 and is perhaps indicative of the level at which we as Liverpool should currently aspire.

Our business community is comparatively small against that of Manchester and Birmingham and we do not have geography on our side. Yet the strides taken in the past fifteen years should not be obscured or dismissed on account of the loss of ‘big ticket; items such as C4 and the Commonwealth Games.

I equate the city’s progress to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool; upon arrival a decent but underperforming team weighed down by history and performance expectations to one assembled piece by piece with each individual asset acquired adding greater quality to create a genuinely competitive outfit. Just as Klopp’s Liverpool was not quite ready to compete consistently at the top level three years ago, so our city region is on the upward trajectory where the acquisition and accumulation of individual assets will create the collective team capable of genuinely challenging for (and we hope winning!) the big ones.

The Mayor’s statement about transport links being a primary inhibitor to the bid was criticised in the social media noise, yet there are undoubtedly lessons to be learnt from our collective efforts to attract concerts, events, airlines and businesses to the region. The links to domestic and international destinations by road, rail, sea and air are an impediment against those conurbations comprising the geographical spine of the country. We shouldn’t ignore this priority improvement.

Similarly we know the improvements required in digital infrastructure and talent pool to enhance our proposition. We must not waiver in our determination to improve.

The risk-aversion of C4 – like that of the Commonwealth Games committee – was a greater impediment than that of the transport links. The review of the bid will demonstrate some tremendous successes and examples of collaboration which must be built upon. The prevailing view amongst us all is “It’s their loss.”

The result must be seen as a bump in the road, not as a sign of an inward investment apocalypse. The attraction of Taylor Wessing, BDO and continuing strength of Investec, Rathbones, Tilneys and others indicates that the environment is gathering strength. The exciting developments at Paddington Village and the wider knowledge quarter are part of this asset acquisition programme that will enhance Liverpool’s competitiveness on an incremental basis.

Other opportunities will become available in due course. Continuing to incrementally improve our asset base will ensure the next time the big ticket item becomes available and we’re in the running, we’re a favourite and not the underdog.

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