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S4C gets £10m loan to 'secure future of Welsh language broadcasting'

Tuesday, March 21st 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

S4C is being given a £10m government loan to help “secure the future of Welsh language broadcasting”, the culture secretary has announced.

The loan will be used to relocate the channel’s headquarters to Carmarthen, creating 800 jobs, while S4C will share technical facilities with the BBC in Cardiff to reduce overheads.

As well as the relocation loan, S4C is also being given £350,000 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to upgrade its technical and IT equipment.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said: “We are making Britain a country that works for all, and are committed to securing the future of Welsh language broadcasting.

“S4C has a proud history of showcasing some of the best of British talent and catering to Welsh-speaking audiences around the world.

“This money will not only ensure S4C continues to prosper, but also that the channel is equipped to compete globally.”

The government is set to launch an independent review of S4C, looking at the remit, governance and funding of the channel.

Most of S4C’s funding currently comes from the TV licence fee, with the rest coming from government grants.

S4C contributed £114m to the Welsh economy in 2015/16 and the channel is attracting 629,000 viewers a week – its best viewing figures for nine years.

'Solid proof'

Welsh secretary Alun Cairns said the latest investment “puts S4C on a secure footing for years to come”.

“The UK government is absolutely committed to supporting and promoting the Welsh language, and today’s investment is solid proof of that.

“There are huge spin-off benefits to Carmarthenshire with hundreds of jobs being created locally and millions going into the region’s economy.

“I look forward to S4C taking its place at new state-of-the-art studios and entertaining, challenging and informing viewers as part of our national conversation.”

Research by the University of Wales suggests S4C’s move to Carmarthen will deliver an estimated £11m boost to the area.

Huw Jones, chair of the S4C Authority, said the channel welcomes the government’s commitment to securing its future.

“The loan of £10m, which will be repaid by S4C to DCMS over a period, will be used by S4C for two specific purposes: to contribute towards the costs of technical equipment associated with S4C’s proposed move to shared broadcasting services with BBC Cymru in their new headquarters in Cardiff in 2019 and also to provide a bridging facility to enable S4C’s advance rent payment to the University of Wales, Trinity St David for the lease at Yr Egin in 2018 until S4C’s current headquarters in Llanishen are sold.”

Pictured: An artist's impression of Yr Egin, which will be the new home of S4C from 2018.

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