Extra £5m for Scottish referendum output

BBC base in Glasgow's Pacific Quay The BBC Scotland headquarters is based in Glasgow's Pacific Quay

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The BBC has announced an extra £5 million investment for coverage of Scotland's independence referendum next year.

It said the money will fund output - such as debates, documentaries and a live results service - that will complement existing news and current affairs commitments.

Scotland's electorate will vote in the referendum of independence on 18 September next year.

The BBC said the £5m fund was made possible by savings achieved through the Delivering Quality First scheme, which is cutting costs by 16% and reinvesting another 4% during 2013-17.

DQF in Scotland

  • Around 35 post closures are planned for 2013/14
  • Around 120 post closures are expected over the 2012-17 period
  • By 2017, BBC Scotland is expected to reduce its baseline budget of £102m by 16%
  • This is expected to be composed of 10% from productivity and efficiency savings, and 6% from content cuts

But MSPs have previously expressed concerns that BBC Scotland's cuts, prior to the vote and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, would mean the corporation could be unable to cover the events successfully.

Extra Games funding

In the announcement on Tuesday, BBC director general Tony Hall said there would be "huge interest" in both events, not just from audiences in Scotland, but also across the UK and abroad.

"I want the BBC to be able to reflect, analyse and discuss them in as much detail as possible and this additional funding will allow us to do just that," he added.

BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie said: "The referendum is of huge significance for Scotland and this additional investment will ensure that audiences here get the comprehensive output they expect."

The £5m investment will help fund multiplatform coverage on English and Gaelic services, which so far includes:

  • Documentaries on all the main referendum issues, which will air from late 2013 until September 2014
  • A series of debates across Scotland, covered on all platforms throughout 2014
  • A live results service on tv, radio and online, in English and Gaelic
  • Local debates and new political programmes on radio
  • In-depth online coverage

A referendum editor will be appointed and a fully-staffed referendum unit will be set up, which will also include around 50 temporary roles.

The corporation is also finalising extra funding plans for coverage of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The event will run from 23 July to 3 August in 2014.

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