First Minister to call for Scottish six o'clock news

The Scottish First Minister plans to meet BBC chiefs to demand a separate six o’clock news programme for Scotland, it has emerged.

Alex Salmond is also expected to announce a new commission to look at the future of Scottish broadcasting during a speech later this week.

It is hoped the move will eventually lead to control of television being devolved to Holyrood, a senior SNP source said.

Salmond will outline the plans during a speech on Wednesday at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

A spokesman for the First Minister said: “The First Minister will deliver a wide-ranging speech on broadcasting in Scotland, on both its central role in our democracy and also the cultural and economic benefits of our creative industries.

“Broadcasting can be Scotland’s window on the world, and we need a debate on the way forward in terms of boosting production in Scotland as well as devolving responsibility.”

It follows a recent report by industry regulator Ofcom, which revealed that the major networks had reduced the amount spent on productions in Scotland.

The report discovered that BBC spending in Scotland had dropped from 7% to 4%, while ITV’s Scottish share had fallen from 3% to 2%.

The First Minister wants meetings with ITV boss Michael Grade and BBC director-general Mark Thompson and will demand that at least 9% of the network’s budgets are spent in Scotland.

Salmond’s call for further devolution and a “Scottish Six” was backed by former BBC director-general Greg Dyke, who claimed Labour had been split on the issue.

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