Ruling out Scottish Six programme will represent an extraordinary lack of ambition, says MP

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East Dunbartonshire MP John Nicolson says he will be “very disappointed” if the BBC decide not to go ahead with a Scottish Six news programme.

Commenting on reports yesterday (Sunday) that the corporation is set to rule it out the SNP Culture Spokesperson and former BBC journalist said: “If the BBC decide not to go ahead with the Scottish Six it will represent an extraordinary lack of ambition and commitment to Scotland.

“As our national debate continues over Brexit and independence - a properly funded Scottish Six has never been more necessary. I have no doubt it would draw on the very best of our journalistic talent to produce programmes of the highest standard.

“Indeed, the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland is a perfect example of how a Scottish-based programme can deliver a mix of Scottish, UK and international news with a running order decided on news merit. It is absurd to suggest that the same format cannot be delivered on television.

“I will be very disappointed for the staff at BBC Scotland if the long planned launch does not go ahead. I know how keen they were to take on the exciting challenge of a Scottish Six. They have been working incredibly hard on pilot programmes and appear to have been led up the hill and back down again by their management.”

“Moreover, as a journalist myself it seems to me that a Scottish Six would have afforded Scotland’s opposition parties what they said that they wanted; in addition to a mix of national, UK and international stories this format would have allowed increased scrutiny of the workings of the Scottish Government and ministers.”

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, who convenes the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Committee, said: “Scottish TV licence payers have been continuously short-changed on investment and output - receiving only around 55% of the £323m licence fee that is raised here in Scotland.

“A Scottish Six would provide a major jobs and investment boost north of the border and ensure that Scotland gets a much fairer share settlement from the BBC in London.

“The publicly-funded broadcaster risks being left behind by its commercial rivals who are already exploring similar formats.

“I look forward to discussing these issues with Lord Hall when he appears before the Committee this week – but he is going to face some extremely difficult questions if this is what he is coming to say.”