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Channel 4 to furlough staff

All executive and non-executive Board members have taken an immediate voluntary 20 per cent pay cut

Channel 4 has announced it plans to furlough 10 per cent of its staff as it aims to navigate the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The broadcaster said it will participate in the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and is opening discussions on furloughing with around 10 per cent of Channel 4 staff, whose roles are impacted by the current circumstances.

The company also announced all executive and non-executive Board members have taken an immediate voluntary 20 per cent pay cut. At the request of the executive Board members the remuneration committee has decided to suspend the 2020 bonus scheme for executive directors.

Content budgets have also been hit, with a reduction of £150 million. Channel 4 said the decision reflects both the difficulties of producing programmes and films in the current environment, as well as decisions to delay or cancel some content across Channel 4, E4 and More 4 across the year.

The announcement also revealed the broadcaster has drawn down on its commercial £75 million revolving credit facility (RCF) that has been in place since 2018 in order to provide additional liquidity and working capital.

Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s CEO said: “As a commercially funded business the Covid-19 outbreak has had a severe impact on our advertising revenues and so we are taking action now to manage our costs appropriately and ensure that we both protect our staff and our ongoing ability to serve our audience.

“We know that these are exceptionally challenging times for everyone in the UK, particularly many of the producers, talent and freelancers we work with across the television and creative industries and we are committed to safeguarding our long-term ability to invest in distinctive and challenging content and create jobs and opportunities in the sector across the UK.”