Scottish Parliament will not probe media job cuts

The Scottish Parliament has decided not to hold an inquiry into the recent spate of media job cuts north of the border.

Alex Neil, chairman of the Parliament's enterprise and culture committee, said that although it was concerned about the job losses, the committee would not pursue an inquiry at this time.

"We have decided there will be no inquiry at the moment as we have so much on our plate, but we will keep a close eye on it in the future," he added.

The Parliament ordered a report into the state of Scotland's media in January following a series of job losses during the previous two months.

Holyrood researchers were told to examine the newspaper, television and radio industries, and report back to the Parliament by March.

It was expected this would lead to a series of hearings with media owners along similar lines to when MSPs questioned BBC Scotland last year over its plans to shed 187 jobs and introduce new local news services.

During the past few months, Scottish Media Group has announced it will cut 54 jobs at Scottish Television and Grampian Television; Trinity Mirror has shed 43 posts at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail; 22 jobs have gone at the Scottish Daily Mirror; and Newsquest, which publishes The Herald, Sunday Herald and Glasgow Evening Times, has instigated the departure of 70 staff under a voluntary redundancy programme, including at least 20 journalists.

BBC Scotland intends to make 187 staff redundant, with 90 posts already identified and agreed with the unions.

Scotland's media job-loss tally has increased recently, with up to 80 mainly non-editorial jobs shed at Scotsman Publications since it was bought by Johnston Press from the Barclay Brothers.

Scotsman Publications has said the cuts are aimed at reducing duplication in mainly back-office and administrative roles, and there are no plans to reduce the editorial headcount following the axing of seven key editorial posts by the previous owners late last year.

NUJ journalists on the group's three newspapers — The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News — have accepted a 2.6 per cent pay rise, which amounts to 3 per cent when coupled with a review of merit salary grades.

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