Future of the BBC

Unlocking untapped potential within Scotland.

Empowering BBC Scotland will allow the corporation to address audience concerns and deliver better programming, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has said.

The UK Government’s renewal of the BBC Charter was published on Thursday, but the Scottish Government says the proposals do not deliver fully for the Scottish audience. Key asks were rejected, including; ensuring a fairer share of the licence fee money raised in Scotland is spent on productions made here and a move towards parity with S4C to enable MG Alba to increase Gaelic output.

The Scottish Government’s broadcasting blueprint, which was formed following positive and constructive discussions with the BBC, BBC Trust, Ofcom, the Scottish screen sector and a wide range of stakeholders across the nation, calls on the UK Government to go further and for the BBC to empower BBC Scotland.

The Scottish Government is committed to on-going engagement with BBC Scotland, offering its full support and assistance so the BBC in Scotland can realise its true potential. The Cabinet Secretary will also continue to meet with senior figures from the BBC and Ofcom, including the Director General, Lord Hall and Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive to progress the Scottish ask.

Ms Hyslop said:

“This has been a critical year for the BBC. It’s a year during which we have all worked together, in good faith, to help shape the next chapter in the BBC’s story. We cannot and will not settle for the status quo. We have an opportunity to ensure that the BBC keeps up with and reflects wider social and constitutional changes.

“I want to speak to what I believe is the sheer scale of untapped potential in Scotland that the BBC could utilise. Within BBC Scotland the corporation is fortunate to have some of the most gifted broadcasters, technical staff, and creative talent in the world. Scotland also has a wealth of independent production talent across a range of genres that the BBC could tap into and better commission.

“We support the ambitions of BBC Scotland staff to be a high quality broadcaster for the people of Scotland, but their ambitions will only be realised with increased investment and the decentralisation of commissioning authority away from Broadcasting House in London into Pacific Quay.

“With a far fairer share of the licence fee raised in Scotland being invested here we could see an additional £100 million spent delivering quality TV and radio output, supporting the growth of our creative industries. It’s estimated that for every £100 million of production spend in Scotland, around 1,500 jobs will be supported and will contribute £60 million to the Scottish economy.

“Audiences expect more and I want BBC Scotland to be empowered to harness this potential for Scottish audiences. I want to see their expertise and talent at work, delivering for Scotland, contributing to network schedules, and having the confidence and financial support to deliver on TV, radio, and online, in news, drama, children’s, comedy, current affairs, and factual entrainment.

“Empowering BBC Scotland in this way does not require changes through the Charter to be delivered; it just needs BBC itself to recognise the opportunity before them to transform broadcasting in Scotland.”

Notes to editors

Scottish Government responds to the BBC Charter renewal: https://scottishgovernment.presscentre.com/News/BBC-Charter-improves-but-must-go-further-2b19.aspx

Scottish Government’s broadcasting blueprint: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/09/6884


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