BBC accused of ‘selling out Scotland’ – MSPs to confront corporation in showdown

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Concerns have been raised that space at BBC Pacific Quay, home to BBC Scotland, is being transferred to another part of the broadcaster not based north of the border which could result in job losses. Studios A and B at the corporation’s base in Glasgow could be transferred to BBC Studioworks.

Holyrood’s newly formed Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee is now demanding that the director of BBC Scotland Steve Carson appear before the Committee to explain the actions.

SNP MSP Clare Adamson, convenor of the Committee, called for urgent answers in a letter to Mr Carson and Director General Tim Davie.

The Committee said Scotland’s screen industry had long lacked a dedicated, purpose-built screen studio.

MSPs had recommended as a matter of urgency that additional studio capacity be introduced.

They argued that Public Sector Broadcasters, and in particular the BBC, occupy a central role in supporting the Scottish screen industry.

In the letter, Ms Adamson added: “The Committee also noted recent media reports on the possible transfer of Studio A and Studio B at the BBC Scotland Pacific Quay site to the control of BBC Studioworks, a commercial subsidiary of the BBC.

“The Committee is concerned about the possible transfer of the two studios at BBC Scotland Pacific Quay to the control of BBC Studioworks within the context of the issues raised in the legacy paper on the screen sector in Scotland.

“In particular, the role of the BBC in occupying a central role in supporting the Scottish screen industry.”

“Any loss of jobs, training and skills in the sector would also be of concern to the Committee.”

Last night, the Scottish Government which has called for devolution of broadcasting powers to ensures the BBC’s output for Scotland is “decided in Scotland” raised significant concerns.

A Scottish Government source said: “Scots need to get the best service from a public broadcaster. 

“We would hope the BBC does not sell us [Scotland] out and shift certain productions to the control of London.”

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It comes after MP John Nicolson, the SNP’s Media spokesperson at Westminster claimed he had been approached by staff who fear job losses over a proposed move. 

In an earlier letter to Mr Carson, he said: “I understand that Studioworks, which is scheduled to take over the landmark studio Kelvin Hall this autumn, is also in discussions regarding a possible takeover of Studio A at Pacific Quay.

“Moreover, it is my understanding that the top management team at BBC Scotland were rather blindsided by this proposal from management in London.”

In response, a BBC Scotland spokesman said: “‘We’re currently exploring a number of options around the management of the BBC’s studio facilities in Glasgow and have been consulting with our staff as part of this – but no decisions have been taken.

“We will respond to the committee in due course.

“The BBC has recently announced plans to move more power and decision-making across the UK in order to reflect, represent, and serve all parts of the country.

“The plan will create jobs and investment in all four nations as well as strengthening our presence and support for the creative economy in Scotland.”

The Corporation said the devolution matter was a political issue. 

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