CHANNEL 4’s decision to choose Leeds as its new national headquarters could help bring 1200 jobs and more than £1 billion to the region over the next decade.

The city, which was chosen over Greater Manchester and Birmingham, has been praised for its “thriving digital industry and a strong digital talent pool”.

The move is expected to bring major economic benefits to the area.

A statement from Leeds City Council says: “Initial forecasts suggest Channel 4’s decision could directly contribute to the creation of more than 1,200 jobs and an economic impact of more than £1bn over the next decade across the Leeds City Region although the true impact, taking into account all the added value being home to a major international broadcaster will bring, will be much larger.”

Leeds City Council Leader Judith Blake, said they were thrilled by the news.

She added: “Together with Bradford we have one of the youngest and fastest growing labour markets in the UK, and the news of Channel 4 choosing Leeds will have a very positive impact on these generations, and is a real triumph for the city and wider region.

“With no other major broadcaster in the North East this news is very welcome, and will allow us to shine a light and really cement the world class work in film and TV that is taking place in Yorkshire and the wider north.

“We look forward to welcoming Channel 4 into the city when they arrive in 2019.”

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Chairman Roger Marsh said the decision would bring huge opportunities for the broadcaster and for the area.

“We are already discussing with Channel 4 how our shared ambitions can be delivered as quickly as possible,” he said.

“In common with other businesses in this sector, Channel 4 has recognised the opportunity offered by our young and diverse population, our long-established and thriving creative community, our high concentration of universities, our connections to the rest of the UK and our quality of life.

Kersten England, Chief Executive of Bradford Council, said: “I am thrilled Channel 4 have seen the huge potential in our young, diverse and digitally-savvy communities and delivered a huge vote of confidence in this region by choosing to locate their national headquarters here.

“With a strong and improving transport network, a strong and outward-looking cultural offering and a high quality of life on offer, we are confident this move will prompt other creative and digital businesses to consider similar moves.”

Screenwriter Kay Mellor is one of those welcoming the announcement.

“Leeds is the perfect fit in terms of location and talent and we’ll all be there with open arms to welcome them to our wonderful city,” she said. “It’s a game changer for Leeds, putting us firmly on the media map. I am so proud.”

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, described the news as “fantastic”.

“A contemporary, vibrant and creative city with considerable talent, Leeds has a long and hugely successful TV production history,” he said.

“For many years making award-winning, world-renowned television programmes, from ITV Yorkshire and BBC Yorkshire to a wealth of dynamic independent production companies. The city is constantly evolving and pushing boundaries and this is an amazing opportunity for Leeds to welcome this much-loved international brand and to surge forward, continuing to showcase the city’s innovative production power on a global media stage.”

The development is also being welcomed by Horsforth-based Leeds Trinity University.

Glyn Middleton, Senior Lecturer in Broadcast Media at the university and one of the founders of the Leeds-based independent TV production company, True North, said: “This is absolutely brilliant news for Leeds, all those working in the creative and media industries in the city and surrounding areas – and especially for all those students trying to secure a foothold in a hugely competitive industry.”