Metro Mayor Dan Norris has cautiously welcomed reports that the sale of Channel 4 is set to be scrapped by ministers.

The Government had planned to flog Channel 4 after forty years of public ownership during former PM Boris Johnson’s premiership.

Now a leaked letter written by the minister in charge of the sale, Michelle Donelan, to Rishi Sunak allegedly reveals ministers look set to scrap the policy altogether.

Her letter, dated Tuesday 3d Jan, sought permission to ditch the sale from the PM and a sub-committee of the Cabinet. This means the policy is not yet final - but this stage is one of the last in forming a new policy position, and usually comes after behind-the-scenes talks.

Instead, Channel 4 will have a new legal duty to “have a clear focus on the long-term sustainability of the business”. The channel will also increase the number of roles based outside London from 300 to 600 in 2025, as per its alternative proposal to privatisation, the letter said.

The revelation was welcomed by Metro Mayor Dan Norris, a staunch opponent of the Channel 4 sale plans. He said this would mean the doubling of jobs at the Channel 4 Bristol Hub, as well as supporting thousands more in the region’s wider creative sector.

Mayor Norris said: “The plan to sell off Channel 4 - an obsession for some ideological zealots - was always wrong for the West of England, and a complete and utter waste of everyone’s time. Privatising this highly successful and much-loved public institution never made commercial sense, directly threatening thousands of jobs in my region’s amazing creative sector, and I’m pleased ministers finally seem to get this. I opposed this sell-off from the start, standing shoulder to shoulder with Channel 4 in the fight to keep the broadcaster public and keep it in the West of England, and it appears our efforts have paid off. I hope this letter signals the beginning of the end of these petty and damaging privatisation plans.”

Channel 4 is publicly owned and non-profit but receives no taxpayer cash. Last year it posted record revenues of £1 billion - its strongest-ever financial performance.