New federal structure for BBC would be ‘win-win’

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop believes BBC Scotland should control license fee revenue generated north of the border

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop believes BBC Scotland should control license fee revenue generated north of the border

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A NEW federal structure for the BBC would be a “win-win” for viewers in both Scotland and the rest of the UK, Holyrood’s Culture Secretary said.

Fiona Hyslop argued giving BBC Scotland bosses “full control” over how licence fee funds raised in Scotland are spent, as well as over commissioning and editorial decisions, would be a boost for the broadcaster.

A federal structure would empower the BBC to better reflect the needs of the nations and regions it serves

Fiona Hyslop MSP

The Scottish Government has already called for the corporation to operate under a federal structure, with separate boards made up of BBC staff and independent members in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

It wants a “fairer share” of the overall BBC budget to be transferred to BBC Scotland and has also called for the development of a distinct BBC Scotland TV channel and an additional radio station.

The Scottish Government now has a formal role in the charter renewal process - which will form the basis for BBC operations over the next decade - with Ms Hyslop to give evidence on this to Holyrood’s Education and Culture Committee.

BBC director general Lord Hall and BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie are also due to answer questions from MSPs.

READ MORE: BBC accused of lies over Scotland political coverage

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Ms Hyslop argued it is “time for BBC Scotland to be empowered and resourced to be bold and creative for Scotland”.

She said: “A federal structure would empower the BBC to better reflect the needs of the nations and regions it serves, giving BBC Scotland full control over decision making in terms of how revenue raised here is spent.

“Full control over commissioning and editorial decisions would have an enormously positive impact. It would enable BBC Scotland to take a long-term, strategic approach to delivering sustainable, high quality programming that benefits audiences, the global market and the creative sector. This would be a win-win for viewers both in Scotland and across the rest of the UK.

“I am keen to work with the BBC to achieve this both within and outwith the charter renewal process, because there is much that the BBC can do outside of charter renewal to improve its service to the people of Scotland.

“We have worked hard with stakeholders from across Scotland to understand the issues and to develop a position that we believe has strong support.

“This is about ensuring the BBC’s long-term future in a way that benefits both the BBC and Scotland. The future BBC must think about Scotland in a different way if it is to meet the needs of the UK’s nations and regions to ensure that public service broadcasting remains a vital part of our social, democratic, cultural and economic life.”

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