BBC backs Scots

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Jennifer Dempsie’s column (“Why Scotland deserves better from the Beeb”, Perspective 26 July) contained a number of misleading assertions.

Her main claim about how much of the licence fee is spent in Scotland is simply wrong. There is no “categorical failure” to spend, in Scotland, licence fee collected in Scotland.

In addition to BBC Scotland’s £200 million annual spend, audiences in Scotland enjoy the full range of pan-UK BBC services, channels and programmes.

In fact the Deloitte economic value survey, published in January, showed that the BBC in Scotland returns £410m annually to Scotland – that’s an increase of £55m in just two years. In essence, for every £1 of licence fee collected, over £2 of value is returned to the Scottish economy.

It is true, as she says, that the BBC network TV spend in Scotland fell slightly this year but, as our annual report also clearly states, it will rise by the end of this year to around 10 per cent, above the 8.6 per cent target set for us for 2016. There is no “slide” predicted, as she suggests.

And the proposed increase in Channel 4’s production target, from 3 per cent to 9 per cent, is for all of the nations combined.

Finally, to suggest we may not be properly equipped to report on the forthcoming independence referendum is very wide of the mark. We are already well prepared to offer our audiences high quality, authoritative and impartial coverage of one of the most important events in 
Scottish constitutional history.

Ian Small

Head of Public Policy & Corporate Affairs

BBC Scotland