Hyslop sets out plans for BBC Scotland structure

CULTURE secretary Fiona Hyslop has said the BBC must “catch up with devolution” as she sets out proposals for a federal structure in the corporation.

Hyslop said the BBC is yet 'truly reflect the complex, varied and rich realities of our society.' Picture: Donald MacLeod

She has called for budgets to be transferred to BBC Scotland, which would allow “independent decision-making” over commissioning and editorial issues. The measures should be adopted as part of the corporation’s current charter review, the SNP minister said.

Her call came as BBC Scotland chiefs unveiled proposals to boost the creative sector as part of their own proposals under the new charter.

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Boards made up of BBC staff and independent members operating in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland should be established. It would also mean more control over staff and the wider running of the organisation.

Ms Hyslop said: “The UK has changed dramatically since devolution but the BBC has yet to catch up with the impact of devolution and truly reflect the complex, varied and rich realities of our society.

“Scotland has the right to expect something truly radical from the charter review, if the BBC is to meet the needs and reflect the lives of Scottish audiences to support the development of a sustainable production sector in Scotland. “

“Today I have outlined the Scottish Government’s proposals for the future of the BBC: a federal BBC, with at least a board for each nation, with a mix of BBC staff and independent members.”

In future, the SNP government wants control over the BBC – and all broadcasting – handed to Holyrood as part of a beefed-up devolution package. It has prompted opposition claims that the Nationalists want greater control over the corporation’s output.

At present, the BBC already spends around £200m per year directly in Scotland, and on top of that audiences get access to UK-wide TV, radio and online programmes and services.

BBC Scotland’s head of public policy Ian Small yesterday said the corporation plans to build on its “strong track record” of delivering quality content.

Scottish Conservative culture spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “The SNP cannot make their mind up about the BBC. The constantly complain about skewed coverage of Scottish issues, yet are happy to demand more money for Scotland.”