BBC Chief Seeks to Reassure MSPs Over Independence Referendum Coverage

The BBC is reporting its director-general, Mark Thompson, reassuring MSPs that “job cuts at the Corporation should not affect coverage of big stories like the Scottish independence referendum”.

The BBC report – on its website – features full-length video coverage of Thompson's appearance today at the Education and Culture Committee at the Scottish Parliament.

He was joined this morning by BBC Scotland Director, Ken MacQuarrie, and Bruce Malcolm, chief operating officer, also at BBC Scotland.

The video lasts one hour:40 minutes.

Up to 120 posts at BBC Scotland are set to be axed within the next five years, in a push to reduce its budget by 16 per cent, following a freezing of the TV licence fee, agreed with the UK Government, until 2017.

Thompson is quoted, as saying: “The most important thing of all is making sure that the programmes and services we offer the Scottish public are as good as they possibly can be.

“I think it's completely reasonable to say, if we can make productivity savings and if we can adjust the way we spend money and still deliver as good or better services, we should do that.

“As we make our changes, quarter by quarter, we'll ask the public for their view about the services. If we think that anything we're doing is leading to a diminution in quality, we will have to sit back and think again.”

MacQuarrie said (around the 15'40″ mark) that 30 posts are expected to be going specifically in news at BBC Scotland, on the back of 14 already gone. Of the 30, five are in radio news production, from a complement of 27.

View the video, here