SCOTLAND’S new BBC TV channel (announced here) is a welcome step in the right direction, but must be properly resourced, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today.
Responding to today’s announcement that a new TV channel for Scotland will begin broadcasting next autumn and an additional £20m will be made available for Scotland to make UK-wide programmes, Ms Hyslop said: “This is a real shift in the right direction from the BBC and responds to calls we’ve made for some time for a new TV channel for Scotland.
“While the increased investment in both journalism and wider production in Scotland is long overdue, this is a very positive development.
“The Scottish Broadcasting Commission estimated in 2009 that a similar channel would cost around £75 million a year – more than double the £30 million announced today.
“It’s vital that the new BBC Scotland channel has complete commission and editorial independence, and is provided with the funding needed to match ambition.
“The new channel will increase the proportion of the licence fee raised in Scotland that is spent in Scotland in years to come – but, sadly, will still fall well short of the proportiate share being spent in Northern Ireland and Wales. We continue to call for the BBC to put Scotland on an equal footing with other devolved nations.
“I welcome the additional £20m for Scotland to make BBC network programmes, which will strengthen growth in our vibrant creative industries. We want to see this investment continue to increase so that Scottish content on the wider BBC network is not sidelined.
“Investment in 80 new journalism jobs is fantastic news, and goes to underline that Scotland has the talent and skills to produce an hour-long news and current affairs programme covering issues from home and around the world.
“In the intervening 18 months before the new TV channel is established, the BBC must invest in quality news and affairs programming so that they deliver content that is relevant to the people of Scotland as we move through Brexit, the triggering of Article 50 and beyond.”
In January 2011, the Scottish Digital Network Panel concluded that the cost of a 6pm to midnight Scottish TV channel would be in line with the £75 million estimate from the Scottish broadcasting Commission.
The First Minister called for a Scottish BBC TV Channel in her speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in August 2015
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