An independent Scotland could support increased TV and film production and help boost the economy, the culture secretary has said.
Fiona Hyslop warned that Scotland’s £440 million broadcasting industry was “lagging behind” other small countries.
Ireland’s TV and radio sector employs nearly twice as many people as Scotland’s broadcast sector, she said in a keynote speech last night.
Ireland employs more than 6,000 people in broadcasting compared with 3,200 in Scotland, with 2,000 people at national broadcaster RTE alone compared with 1,200 at BBC Scotland, Ms Hyslop said.
She said: “Our radio and broadcasting sector is a £400m industry of enormous importance to Scotland and employs 3,200 people – as well as the many self-employed and freelance staff vital to the sector. In addition to TV and radio, we also know that the film and video sector are enormously valuable. The Scottish Government values the contribution that film-making, animation and television production make to Scotland’s rich cultural life, with public-sector investment in support for the screen sector, across production, education, training and exhibition, increasing to £21m in 2012-13.
“We have consistently championed Scotland as a location for international film and TV productions, and we work hard to ensure Scotland is widely recognised for its world-class talent, crews, facilities and breathtaking locations. Scottish ministers are firmly committed to supporting a sustained increase in production.”
She added: “Scotland is a creative and dynamic country, and we must be ambitious to do more. Our sector lags behind that of nations comparable in size, such as Ireland and Finland.Of course, creating a Scottish Broadcasting Service will do much to address this. But we can and must do much more.”
She added: “With the powers of independence we could do much more for this vital industry. Independence would change broadcasting for the better, both for the industry and for the public.”