White Paper: Culture, communities and digital

Culture and heritage are already devolved, but the Scottish government sees it as an enduring and powerful asset to be developed under independence.

After independence, the key areas of culture communications and digital policy include:

  • Establishing a Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS) - initially founded on staffing and resources of BBC Scotland - providing TV, radio and online. It would inherit a proportionate share of the BBC's commercial ventures, including BBC Worldwide Ltd, BBC Studios and Productions Ltd and BBC News Ltd, and of associated ongoing profits.
  • There would be a formal relationship between BBC and SBS to supply the same level of network programming - like Doctor Who or Eastenders - in return for access to BBC services in Scotland. Continued commissioning and co-production with SBS and other parts of production sector in Scotland would occur.
  • Current TV licence fee and exemptions would be retained. SBS budget would be £345m - including £320m from licence share, £13m from BBC commercial profits and £12m from Scottish government for Gaelic broadcasting. There would be no requirement for advertising revenue. And the SBS would begin broadcasting on December 31st 2016.
  • Existing licences for broadcasters in Scotland would be fully honoured - including Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences which are renewed to 2025. The Channel 4 licence is also likely to be renewed untill 2025.
  • There would be a push for increased TV production from Scotland, in line with size of population. And an increase in productions that reflect Scots and life in Scotland.
  • Royal Mail would be brought back into public ownership with a commitment to existing service levels. Regulation would be transferred from Ofcom to a Scottish regulator.
  • Improve geographic coverage in telecommunications, particularly in remote rural areas. Continuation of £410m Step Change programme to improve digital infrastructure. Ensure new spectrum licences deliver to rural, as well urban communities. Explore possibilities of setting higher obligations.
  • National Lottery to continue in Scotland, with Camelot retaining licence as operator. Decisions about the distribution of Good Cause money to be made in Scotland.
  • Continued support for all areas of culture currently supported, including promotion of Gaelic language through Bòrd na Gàidhlig and MG ALBA.
  • Explore a VAT reduction on repairs and maintenance work of historic buildings.
  • Development of a Scottish overseas diplomatic and trade network to promote Scottish culture and traditions.
  • Encourage investment in film and television production in Scotland. Promote Scotland as a location for film and television production. Consider fiscal incentives and further investment in infrastructure and training.