The Scottish Government welcomes the launch of the new channel in Scotland and continues to urge the BBC to take a strategic lead in developing the creative industries in Scotland. The United Kingdom regulator Ofcom carries out research into public attitudes to the BBC, including in Scotland, to inform its assessment of how the BBC is performing against its public purposes. Television viewer figures are collated by the Broadcasters Audience Research Board.
There is a perception that the majority of the filming and production for the new channel is concentrated in the central belt. Does the cabinet secretary agree that this is the perfect opportunity to enable all parts of Scotland, including my constituency, to produce quality and meaningful content for the new channel? Will she encourage the BBC to make use of the talent that we have throughout the country?
Clearly, the BBC is independent and makes its own creative decisions, but in our arguments to ensure that there was more spend in Scotland, I and other members of the Scottish Parliament argued that all of Scotland should be represented by the BBC. I therefore encourage the BBC to locate productions in different parts of Scotland. The vast majority of BBC Alba’s output is from commissioned independent producers and that process is very effective. We encourage BBC Scotland to do that, too.
The member might be aware that a number of the production companies that are performing very well in terms of new productions are located in the central belt. To grow the sector, we must ensure that we have more successful production companies that have recurring series, particularly drama, and that there are opportunities for creative work to happen all over Scotland.
However, I reiterate that BBC Scotland is independent of the Government, so I cannot tell it what to do.