Holyrood culture secretary seeks £100m more from BBC licence fee for production in Scotland

A new federal structure for the BBC could generate major economic benefits for Scotland, culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has said. 

The Scottish government wants budgets to be transferred to BBC Scotland under the charter renewal process for the corporation.

It is also calling for the creation of new TV and radio channels for Scotland.

Speaking at a charter renewal consultation event in Edinburgh, Hyslop said the transfer of a far greater proportion of Scotland's licence fee share would allow independent decision making in relation to commissioning and editorial choices, staffing structures and the wider running of the organisation.

This would also allow greater investment in creative industries north of the border, she said.

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

"The BBC as a public sector broadcaster has the power to transform the industry in Scotland and that is why I am calling for BBC Scotland to have a much more representative share of the licence fee, which could see an additional £100m available for production in Scotland, supporting an estimated 1,500 jobs and contributing around £60m to the Scottish economy.

"Even small changes to the way the BBC Scotland budget is currently spent could generate economic benefits to Scotland.

"Simply realigning all of the £80-90m BBC Scotland currently spends on production in Scotland to commissioning content from indigenous producers could generate as much as £30m further spending across the economy."

She added: "We understand the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has received around 200,000 responses to their recent consultation, which demonstrates the importance of the BBC's role as our primary public sector broadcaster.

"It's crucial that Scotland sets out a co-ordinated, reasoned and well-evidenced argument on its asks as part of charter renewal. From our discussions we have held with the sector in Scotland, we know there is support for our proposals and an appetite for positive change through the charter renewal process."

(Reuters picture shows protests outside BBC in Scotland over corporation's coverage of the 2014 independence referendum)

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