Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Tuesday, 29 May 2012 12:59 UK

Education and Culture Committee

The BBC's director-general Mark Thompson confirmed up to 120 jobs are to go at BBC Scotland but added that would be offset with the shift of network programming to Scotland.

Mr Thompson was answering questions from the Education and Culture Committee on the future of the BBC's operation in Scotland on 29 May 2012.

BBC Scotland's strategy to 2016 was published on 16 May 2012.

In October 2011 the BBC Executive published Delivering Quality First (DQF) which would result in cuts across the BBC, which in turn emerged after the UK coalition government's licence fee freeze until 2017.

Mr Thompson said: "If I take one programme, Waterloo Road, this is a programme over eight or nine months will employ up to 200 people in Scotland, in of itself, will have an impact on employment, a positive impact rather greater we think than any of the reductions we are going to have to make in Delivering Quality First."

He said all services would be continuously monitored for quality and if there was any diminution in quality the BBC would "think again".

BBC Scotland's director Ken MacQuarrie told the committee overall in news and current affairs 30 jobs were going, with five posts out of 27 going in radio news production.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said last year the BBC's Audience Council for Scotland reported that audiences wanted more Scottish news and current affairs and deeper analysis, but BBC Scotland was cutting the news and current affairs budget by 16%.

Ms McAlpine asked: "How do you justify that in terms of what the audiences want?"

Mr Thompson replied audiences were interested in the output and added : "I think its perfectly reasonable to say if we can make productivity savings and if we can adjust the way we spend money and still deliver as good or better services we should do that."

He later said : "We want to increase the quality and increase the depth of our journalism, but we also want to do that at the same time as we become more efficient."

On the issue of the Scottish independence referendum Mr Thompson said it was a "gigantic" story.

"This is one of the biggest things the BBC will ever do anywhere - it's a story of immense interest and importance."

Mr Thompson said coverage of the referendum would need "very substantial" resources and the BBC would be telling the story around the world in at least 30 languages.

"It will be one of the largest domestic stories the BBC has covered in recent years and will be properly resourced."

BBC Scotland's chief operating officer Bruce Malcolm also gave evidence.

Education Committee membership


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