STV chief to give evidence to MSPs over job-cuts

Simon Pitts, chief executive of STV, will appear before MSPs next week. Picture: Contributed
Simon Pitts, chief executive of STV, will appear before MSPs next week. Picture: Contributed
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The chief executive of STV will appear before MSPs next week to justify job cuts at the broadcaster.

Simon Pitts will give evidence to Holyrood’s culture committee after it emerged earlier this month that 60 positions are at risk.

As well as job cuts, the controversial move will also see the loss-making STV2 channel axed a year after launching.

Critics have branded it as a “devastating blow” which “will lead to a massive reduction in the breadth and depth of news coverage viewers in Scotland currently enjoy.”

READ MORE: STV confirms channel closure and job losses as part of restructure

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, covener of the culture committee, told the Herald: “I can confirm that committee members agreed to ask Simon Pitts, CEO of STV, to give evidence on June 7 and he has accepted.

“All members of the committee were concerned about the announcement both regarding the divestment of local TV licences and the proposed job losses in news and were keen to take evidence from Mr Pitts.

“The committee is concluding a major inquiry into Scotland’s screen industries at the moment and these developments are relevant to our current workstream.”

The overhaul was announced just months after Mr Pitts joined STV, receiving a £850,000 “golden hello” package.

It is understood 34 jobs are at risk at STV News, with 25 cut at STV2. Viewers in Edinburgh and the east coast will lose the separate edition of STV’s flagship evening news bulletin as a result of the changes.

Mr Pitts described the restructure as a “positive vision” that would “reestablish the company as a creative force in Scotland and beyond”.

Staff at the broadcaster have threatened strike action and are to meet today to decide whether to go ahead with industrial action.

An STV spokeswoman said Mr Pitts “looks forward to the opportunity of sharing details of STV’s three-year growth plan with members of the culture committee.”

She added: “Our new strategy will see us invest in £15m in new programming for Scottish audiences, in improving our digital service, and in news. This is far more than the amount we are saving, with the aim of securing STV as an independent creative force in Scotland and beyond.”

READ MORE: Why STV2 failed and what it means for broadcasting in Scotland