MSP seeks Holyrood debate on BBC redundancies

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  By a Newsnet reporter

An MSP has called on the Scottish Parliament to debate the compulsory redundancies announced by the BBC to take effect on 31 March.

Raising concerns over the effect these redundancies would have on the quality of news output and analysis, Mr Eadie called for the BBC to rethink their strategy or risk seriously undermining the BBC’s ability to adhere to the terms of its own Royal Charter.

Concerns have been raised that the BBC is cutting back on news and current affairs staffing in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum, at a time when there is a pressing need for in-depth analysis of the issues facing Scotland. The BBC has already faced criticism over what many feel is an inadequate amount of airtime devoted to Scottish issues, it is feared that the cuts will make matters worse.

Nine BBC staff members are facing compulsory redundancy as a result of the cuts.  Member of the journalist union the NUJ have announced that they will take strike action over the job losses on Friday 22 and Monday 25 of March.  The industrial action follows a previous 24 hour strike held in February.  The first compulsory redundancies, affecting 6 staff, are due to take effect at the end of this month.

Mr Eadie – SNP MSP for Edinburgh Southern – has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament seeking support for a Members’ Debate.  Mr Eadie’s motion calls on MSPs to condemn the BBC cuts, and states that they will undermine the Corporation’s ability to adhere to the terms of its Royal Charter.  The motion also demands that BBC bosses hold a moritorium on the planned redundancies in order to avoid the planned industrial action.

Commenting, Mr Eadie – who recently raised the issue during First Minister’s Questions – said:

“With the referendum taking place next year and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games just around the corner, the need for quality reporting and news output has never been greater in Scotland.

“Scottish license fee payers have a right to expect the kind of high quality news and analysis that befits a world class public service broadcaster.

“If we do not oppose these cuts we risk diminishing standards of broadcasting to an unacceptable level.

“This debate affords an important opportunity to voice the concerns of staff and the National Union of Journalists who feel compelled to strike in order to halt these redundancies and maintain the standard of broadcasting we expect from the BBC.”