Hyslop: BBC Scotland should keep licence fee cash

SCOTLAND’S TV production industry could enjoy a £100 million boost if BBC Scotland is handed more control of licence fee cash raised north of the border, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has said.

Fiona Hyslop has called for more of the £323 million collected north of the border to be kept in Scotland. Picture: John Devlin

The SNP Government today stepped up calls for more of the £323 million collected north of the border to be kept in Scotland as part of the BBC charter renewal which could also result in a £60 million boost for the economy.

Mrs Hyslop made the call during a keynote speech in Edinburgh today and expanded on her vision for the BBC to operate under a federal structure.

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“We are calling for a federal BBC and for budgets to be transferred to BBC Scotland, which would allow independent decision making in relation to commissioning and editorial choices, staffing structures and the wider running of the organisation,” Mrs Hyslop said.

“BBC Scotland must have control over a far greater proportion of the £323 million collected in TV Licensing revenues in Scotland.

“The BBC as a public sector broadcaster has the power to transform the industry in Scotland and that is why I am calling for BBC Scotland to have a much more representative share of the licence fee, which could see an additional £100m available for production in Scotland, supporting an estimated 1,500 jobs and contributing around £60 million to the Scottish economy.”

The Scottish Government wants to see all of the £80-90 million BBC Scotland budget for Scottish production going to programmes whcih are made here. This could generate as much as £30 million further spending across the economy.

There are widespread concerns over the “lift and shift’ approach which sees productions purportedly carried out in Scotland actually being made elsewhere to ensure quotas are met.

Mrs Hyslop added: From our discussions we have held with the sector in Scotland, we know there is support for our proposals and an appetite for positive change through the charter renewal process.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We already spend around £200m per year in Scotland and audiences there are some of the highest users of the BBC - the vast majority of which is using pan-UK services. We recognise that there is audience demand for greater representation and portrayal of Scottish audiences on all BBC services and we want this to be part of our response in Charter Review. Given the BBC faces real financial challenges we’ve said that major new investment in a broad range of programming cannot be delivered within the Budget agreement with the Government.”