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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01298: Michael Russell (Argyll and Bute)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 7 July 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what consultation it expects to have with the BBC director of nations and regions and what guarantees about such consultation the BBC's director general has given.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 2 August 2016

BBC Scotland informed Scottish Government Officials on the day of the announcement. The Scottish Government have subsequently sought a meeting with the Director in Scotland to address our immediate and clear concerns on this issue.

We believe that it is a backwards step that will place the Director for Scotland further from significant decision–making structures at a critically important time for the BBC. We are disappointed that the BBC has made this decision and would argue that a loss of a distinct and representative voice from Scotland on the Executive Team is an unhelpful response to the political and social realities of devolution across the U.K. and one which so clearly counters the consensus that has emerged in Scotland around the requirement for greater and fairer representation across the operations of the BBC.

Nonetheless, we would expect to have substantive consultation with the new Director of Nations but have yet to receive any guarantees about such consultation from the Director General. This is especially disappointing given his assertion before the Scottish Parliament Culture and Education Committee, earlier in January, that he wanted the Director of Scotland to have a ‘powerful voice in determining what the BBC does as a whole’. This decision appears to undermine that ambition.