Scottish MPs to demand more TV shows are made in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has called for the BBC to adopt a federal structure for a better balance. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Nicola Sturgeon has called for the BBC to adopt a federal structure for a better balance. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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The UK and Scottish governments should strike a deal to allow more BBC and Channel 4 programmes to be made in Scotland, according to a new report by MPs.

Westminster’s Scottish affairs committee has called for co-operation between the two governments on issues such as broadcasting, broadband access and tax breaks for the music industry.

The MPs said an agreement was needed because of the “mix of devolved and reserved policy areas” that sees Holyrood and Westminster both holding powers over the creative sector.

Scotland should have greater representation on the UK Creative Industries Council, which the SNP-led committee suggested was dominated by the sector in England.

“It is not at all clear, given the UK-wide nature of the council’s members and the reserved nature of many of the policy areas it considers, why this body has an England-only remit,” the report said.

The UK government should also use its powers to see how “creative tax reliefs can be of greater benefit for Scotland” and sectors such as the video games industry, which has a major hub in Dundee, it added.

There is “evidence that Scottish production companies are disadvantaged by poor access” to public service broadcasters commissioning shows, the committee, chaired by SNP MP Pete Wishart, said. “BBC and Channel 4 need to ensure that there is no disadvantage to being located in Scotland when it comes to opportunities to win commissions and should consider locating a greater proportion of commissioners in Scotland,” it said.

The committee also highlighted Nicola Sturgeon’s call for the BBC to adopt a federal structure, with a separate board for each home nation under a UK-wide board.

“We note the First Minister’s suggestion for a federal structure for the BBC and the possibility of a separate BBC channel for Scotland, and the comments we received both in favour and against”, it said.

However, the MPs said co-operation between Westminster and Holyrood was “essential” to deliver the reforms.

It said: “The central theme arising from our inquiry was that the mix of devolved and reserved policy areas, and range of UK and Scottish agencies and bodies involved in supporting and representing the creative industries, means that effective engagement between the UK and Scottish governments, and both governments and industry in Scotland, is essential.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We were pleased to engage with the Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry and welcome the recommendations.”

A spokesman from the UK department for culture, media and sport, said: “The creative industries in Scotland and right across the UK make a huge contribution to our ­culture and economy. We will continue to work closely with Scottish Government to support this important sector.”