Channel 4 is reported to have been urged by MPs to boost its programme budget fivefold in Scotland.
Says The Herald, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has noted that – while production spending outside London by the broadcaster is above the 30 per cent minimum insisted by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom (32 per cent two years ago and 37 per cent last year) – not much goes to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The Herald's Michael Settle writes: “[The committee] referred to the channel’s annual report last year, which emphasised the importance Channel 4 said it attached to supporting creativity across the UK with an investment of more than £100 million outside London.
“In its evidence, the channel pointed out how one of its biggest shows, Hollyoaks, was made in Liverpool and it was ‘very proud of the fact that we work with a greater number of regional smaller independent producers than most of our competitors’.
“Yet the committee noted how the amount of programming coming from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland amounted to just three per cent of its total production when the combined share of the UK population was 15 per cent.”
The Herald quotes from a report from the committee: “We urge Channel 4 to redouble its efforts to increase the proportion of UK-originated commissioning from the nations and regions. We need a commitment from Channel 4 to increase spending over the next few years.
“We propose that Channel 4 sets a medium-term target of 15 per cent of network spend on originated programming coming from the nations in line with their total population share. We look forward to hearing next year the results of the chief executive’s reviews of targets for commissioning from the nations and the potential benefits of re-locating commissioners out of London.”