Scottish National Party politicians are lobbying for an independent Scottish Broadcasting Corporation to replace the BBC if the nation wins independence. It also believes there should be a Scottish alternative to media regulator Ofcom.
Its stance – unveiled earlier this month – prompted Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell to warn it would lead to more expensive licence fees north of the border.
If Scotland voted for independence in a referendum, expected to be held in the first term of an SNP administration, BBC Scotland would be replaced by a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation with an SBC1 channel with a more Scottish flavour.
The SNP says this would create more jobs and more programmes, although it admits it would have to be part-funded by advertising.
The latest development follows the SNP’s accusation last summer that BBC Scotland was being shortchanged. The region has a total budget of £161m but Scots pay more than £250m in licence fees every year.
However, Jowell says that should the BBC be replaced by an SBC, people could pay as much as £250 – almost double the current £131.50 UK licence fee. Broadcast union Bectu has also claimed the SNP plans would lead to job losses at BBC Scotland.
The SNP says broadcasting policy is central to the way a country develops and has long called for an autonomous broadcasting corporation.