MSPs to question BBC chiefs on Scotland funding

A HOLYROOD committee is calling on BBC bosses to set out how much cash the corporation raises and spends in Scotland.

Holyrood is keen to find out how the BBC can better reflect the diversity of the Scottish audience. Picture: Ian Rutherford

MSPs on the Education and Culture Committee are to question senior figures from the BBC, including director-general Lord Hall and BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie, as part of the charter renewal process.

Committee convener Stewart Maxwell said as part of that, his committee is keen to find out how the broadcaster can “better reflect the diversity of the Scottish audience”.

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Pro-independence campaigners accused the BBC of bias in the run up to last September’s referendum, with Yes supporters staging a demonstration outside its Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow.

Mr Maxwell said: “The Scottish Parliament has an important role in deciding how the BBC should serve the people of Scotland. Key areas of interest for the committee are how the new charter can better reflect the diversity of the Scottish audience and influence the growth of the creative sector in Scotland.

“But equally important is how the BBC can be held to account by the Scottish Parliament and how Scotland’s voice can be heard and represented in any changes to the current governance structure.”

Lord Hall is due to give evidence to Holyrood in January, with the committee writing to him ahead of that meeting to find out how much cash the licence fee raises in Scotland, and how funding north of the border breaks down, including how much is spent on TV, online services, the Gaelic channel BBC Alba and BBC Radio Scotland.

The MSPs also want to know what proposals the network has to give bosses in Scotland greater ability to directly commission new projects.