Director General quizzed by MSPs

Hall hints at changes to news services in devolved BBC

Lord Hall BBC DG at HolyroodBBC director general Lord Hall said he favours devolving control over budgets and decision-making to those running the corporation in Scotland.

He told MSPs that the option of a Scottish Six news programme was on the agenda, adding that “it was time to make changes.”

Appearing before Holyrood’s Culture Committee in connection with charter renewal he admitted the BBC “can do so much better in telling the stories of Scotland to Scottish audiences”.

It should also do better job of doing this to the whole of the UK and to the world, he said. There would be review of the way the BBC commissions work across network television. A review of news services would report in the spring.

He gave evidence alongside the head of BBC Scotland, Ken MacQuarrie, and finance director Anne Bulford.

Lord Hall said: “The BBC’s principle has been neither to lead nor to lag in devolution. But now is the right time to say are we getting it right and do we need to change the balance?

“My own view is that this is the time now to make a change.

“So, we are looking at a review of news which will report in the spring – this is looking at the provision news across TV, radio and also online and of course in that there will be a debate about what has become known as the ‘Scottish Six O’Clock news’.

MSPs also quizzed culture secretary Fiona Hyslop who has called for the creation of a federal BBC that would give full powers over commissioning and decision-making to BBC Scotland.


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