On Thursday I questioned the First Minister during FMQ’s about the future of the BBC before going on to lead for the Scottish Labour Party in a debate on the Creative Industries in Scotland.
We know that the BBC is facing a very tough licence fee settlement and we need to balance being ambitious alongside maintaining quality. That is why I called for an open debate that is led by licence fee payers during FMQs.
During the debate I cautioned that I have yet to see evidence that the Scottish public are calling out for a Scottish-only channel and we must ask if such a move is an appropriate use of licence fee payers’ money considering the considerable cost of such a move.
I also raised my reservations about moving to a federal system within the BBC. Many will remember the controversy when STV didn’t show Downton Abbey when it first aired in the rest of the UK. If we move to a system of buying and selling shows within the BBC then we could find popular BBC programmes not being available in Scotland.
I also spoke about my concerns that we are still no further forward with a new film and TV studio in Scotland. Meanwhile Screen Yorkshire is well on their way with plans for a studio just outside Leeds, meaning further competition for the sector in Scotland.
We need to ensure that we have the right infrastructure available in Scotland to develop and retain skills within the sector. A film studio would go a long way towards achieving that.
You can watch the debate below. It starts at 1 hour 21 minutes in with my speech starting at 1:39:00.
You can also read my speech here.