SNP’s £100million TV licence fee demand for more Scottish-made programmes

BBC TV licence fee payers could soon be stumping up millions of pounds for more Scottish-made programmes on the BBC, putting pressure on the £145 annual fee.

Nicola Sturgeon wants to 'invest in Scotland's creative sector'
Nicola Sturgeon wants to ‘invest in Scotland’s creative sector’

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is demanding another £100million funding from the BBC, for what are described as “shortbread tin” programmes.

Her plans for the BBC could also result in the creation of a second BBC Trust north of the border.

Sturgeon said: “I think BBC Scotland should have a fairer share of the licence fee to ensure the best programming.”

However, she wants the licence fee to remain at the same level: “When so many are struggling it would be wrong to ask people to pay more,” she said.

But insiders believe the SNP demand in the manifesto for “investment in Scotland’s creative sector” could mean an increase in the overall licence fee, set at £145 a year until March next year.

One of its other manifesto ideas is that any “replacement system” for the fee, “should be based on the ability to pay”, or a means test.

Andrew Allison, from the Axe The Tax campaign, said: “The extra £100million will have to come from somewhere, so that’s either an increase in the licence fee, or at the expense of the English.

“I can’t see the SNP being bothered either way.

“I can also see that the SNP will want to dole out free TV licences to those who prefer to spend their days drinking pints of Heavy.

“I guess they will screw over English taxpayers for that money, too!”

Charter renewal negotiations will begin after the General Election.

The SNP also say they want a “substantial role” in shaping the next BBC Charter, which expires in December 2016.

Former Channel 5 chief executive, David Elstein, believes the SNP “would bid strongly for broadcasting to become a devolved matter.

“This would mean that editorial control of BBC output north of the border would reside in Edinburgh, not London.

“It would also mean that BBC Scotland would have its own version of the BBC Trust locally, appointed by the Scottish government”.

The BBC said “it didn’t comment on election pledges”.

An SNP spokesman said it “supports Scotland receiving a fairer share of the revenues received from the license fee, to more accurately reflect the level of revenue raised here, allowing an investment of £100million in its creative sector.”

Sounds like the SNP want everyone else to fund the national programming, why not just let those who want it fund it