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Scotland sets out its stall on Charter renewal

Published: 17 Feb 2016 00:01

Plans for a bold, creative and ambitious BBC for Scotland.

The Scottish Government today outlined a comprehensive and detailed vision for the future of publicly-funded, public service broadcasting in Scotland.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop outlined the opportunities in a new policy paper calling for the BBC to evolve to deliver better, more representative content for Scottish audiences and strengthen its support for Scotland's creative sector.

The paper provides more detail on the Cabinet Secretary's recent calls for the BBC to operate under a new decentralised structure that transfers commissioning, editorial and budget decisions directly to Scotland, and for new TV and radio platforms and channels.

It calls for a range of new measures to be implemented, either through the current Charter renewal process, or separately. The paper forms part of the Scottish Government's engagement with the BBC Charter renewal process, in which it has a formal role for the first time.

In addition to new channels and a decentralised model that transfers key decision-making to Scotland, the paper calls for Scottish journalists to be given a greater voice across the network; more support for Scottish independent producers to take their content to the global market; and for BBC ALBA to receive the same levels of in-house programming as the Welsh language channel S4C.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

"The vision I have set out today is founded on a recognition of the immense value of a public service broadcaster.

"The BBC is one of the most important and influential cultural, social, economic and democratic institutions in our country, but audience satisfaction ratings show Scots do not feel the corporation fully represents their views and interests.

"The changes we are seeking will address this fundamental issue, empowering the BBC to deliver better outcomes both for the people of Scotland, and across the whole of the UK.

"Decentralising control to BBC Scotland will mean commissioning, editorial and budget decisions will more accurately reflect Scottish issues and interests. It could also deliver a significant economic boost to Scotland.

"With full control of the money raised in Scotland through the licence fee, BBC Scotland could deliver up to an additional £100 million of investment in Scotland's creative sector over the course of just one year, supporting an extra 1,500 jobs and contributing up to an additional £60 million to Scotland's economy. Over the period of the next Charter, this would see as much as £1 billion invested directly in Scotland's creative economy and around £600 million of additional economic benefit.

"At the heart of our ambition is the Scottish Government's commitment to high quality, well-resourced public service broadcasting - underpinned by a sustainable and growing Scottish production and creative sector.

"The people of Scotland – our audiences, our production sector and those in our wider creative industries deserve no less."

Notes to editors

The policy paper is available at: www.gov.scot/isbn/9781786520210

The Scottish Government has refined its policy position on BBC Charter Renewal through a process of extensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties. Ms Hyslop has engaged with the Secretary of State for Culture, the Scottish Parliament, representatives of other devolved governments and the BBC both in Scotland and the UK. These discussions, and the Scottish Government's scrutiny of the UK Government's plans, will continue.