Blueprint for Scottish broadcasting 'revolution'
A strategy for the economic development of the broadcasting sector in Scotland is to be produced. This will be published by Scottish Enterprise and will build on the analysis and recommendations of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission report.
First Minister Alex Salmond today outlined the Scottish Government's response to the Scottish Broadcasting Commission's recommendations in the Scottish Parliament.
He also told Parliament that Culture Minister Linda Fabiani has written to the Westminster Culture Secretary Andy Burnham to make direct representations in support of the Commission's proposals, in particular the creation of a Scottish network channel.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, ahead of a debate on the Commission's report, the First Minister said he welcomed the report's proposals.
Published last month, the report made a range of recommendations to enhance the economic and cultural weight of the Scottish broadcasting sector.
The First Minister outlined the Scottish Government's response to the report, which will focus on three central aspects:
- Delivering a fair share of network production for Scotland
- Creating a new Scottish public service network, as a focal point for the long-term development of Scottish broadcasting
- Strengthening accountability and diversity in broadcasting, to ensure that Scottish interests are fully represented
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
"The Commission's recommendations are far reaching and propose nothing short of a blueprint for a revolution in Scottish broadcasting.
"The Commission's central proposal is for a new Scottish Network consisting of a dedicated television channel and online dimension and this is a view I fully support.
"It is high time Scotland had its own dedicated digital network. Culturally, economically, democratically, this country deserves its own network to develop home grown broadcasting and multi media talent.
"At present, some £300 million is raised from Scottish licence feepayers, yet only £140 million is actually spent in Scotland - illustrating a substantial investment shortfall.
"Given that the sale of the cleared digital spectrum will raise billions of pounds for the Treasury from all parts of the UK, and that public service broadcasting is currently reserved to Westminster, we fully support the Commission's recommendation that the new Scottish digital network should be fully funded under that public service broadcasting remit.
"We also share the Commission's expectation that the BBC and Channel 4 should have a substantial commissioning presence in Scotland and devote a minimum of 8.6 percent of programme budgets to commissioning programmes from Scotland. New network commissions will bring tens of millions of pounds of new investment directly into Scottish broadcasting - potentially doubling broadcast production in Scotland - and the Scottish Government will do all that we can in support the industry so it can capitalise on these new opportunities.
"By the end of this year, Scottish Enterprise will produce a strategy for the economic development of the broadcasting sector, building on the Commission's analysis and recommendations.
"The Commission's report has been welcomed on a cross-party, consensual basis in Scotland, and the Culture Secretary Linda Fabiani has written to Andy Burnham seeking the UK Government's support to turn its vision into economic and cultural reality in Scotland.
"Our skills delivery bodies will work in partnership with industry and the higher education sector to ensure that the skills needs of Scottish Broadcasting are addressed - now and over the long term.
"Broadcasting is vital to Scotland's cultural and democratic life. Securing these positive changes will bring a significant economic dividend for Scottish broadcasting."