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A more ambitious BBC Scotland

Published: 17 Sep 2015 19:01

Culture Secretary Responds to the BBC Director General's vision for BBC Studios

In a response to a speech by the Direction General of the BBC, Tony Hall, today (Thursday) the Culture Secretary has called for the BBC to avoid monopoly and embrace diversity with any new arrangements for working with the independent production sector.

Mr Hall was speaking at the Royal Television Society Convention in Cambridge. In his speech he proposed that the current BBC production unit would be turned into a wholly owned subsidiary competing in the market for production contracts for programmes, including from the BBC. He also said the in-house guarantee that 50 per cent of productions should be by the BBC, would be abolished.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

"The UK has changed dramatically since devolution, but the BBC has yet to catch-up with the consequences and truly reflect the complex, varied and rich realities of our society.

"Scotland has the right to expect something truly radical from the charter review if the BBC is to meet the needs, or reflect the lives of Scottish audiences, and support the development of a sustainable production sector in Scotland.

"That is why I want to respond to Tony Hall's vision for BBC Studios. Any proposals to change the way the market works for the independent production sector need to ensure that a diverse sector is maintained without undue domination by a single player. We will continue the conversation we have started in Scotland about our priorities for the BBC Charter Renewal, and this will include discussing the impact of these proposals.

"Now is the time to be ambitious - that's why we are calling for the creation of a new TV and radio channel, which would empower BBC Scotland as never before.

"It would help to secure the sustainability of the independent production sector in Scotland, it would see more of the licence fee spent in Scotland, and ensure a richer range of content was available to viewers.

"This Government wants to encourage the widest possible level of debate within Scotland on charter renewal. Next week we will host an event to ask the industry what they'd like to see from charter renewal, so that we can build a positive and constructive consensus for change."

Notes to editors

Today's proposal from the BBC can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/corporate2/insidethebbc/howwework/reports/bbc_studios_2015

Last month, the First Minister set out the Scottish Government's proposed reforms that the charter renewal process should consider:
• The renewed charter should see the BBC move to a federal structure, with separate governance boards for each of the home nations sitting under a UK-wide board.
• A second English language channel should be introduced on BBC Radio Scotland to provide a better variety of programmes for the radio audience in Scotland.
• A dedicated mainstream television channel should be established in Scotland, helping the independent production sector and improving the range of content for Scottish audiences.

Next week, the Scottish Government will hosting an event to outline the Scottish Government's vision for Public Service Broadcasting in Scotland and the BBC Charter Renewal, and to help build consensus around the charter renewal process throughout the sector in Scotland.