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UK Culture secretary Maria Miller has said Scotland will lose the BBC if it votes for independence in the September referendum. Miller warned that a vote for independence was a vote to leave the institutions of the UK, and that included the BBC.
The minister told the Oxford Media Convention that the BBC was “part of our crown jewels”, saying it was too important for the debate about its charter renewal to become embroiled in party politics. “We have to think what the [independence] vote is about. It’s about whether or not Scotland wants to remain as part of the UK,” said Miller. “If the vote is no, they don’t want to do that, then it’s a vote to leave the institutions of the UK and the BBC is one of those institutions.”
The SNP said last year it would create a new Scottish Broadcasting Service, funded by the Scottish share of the licence fee.
Alex Salmond’s party proposed that BBC1 and BBC2 would continue to be available in an independent Scotland, along with BBC radio stations and commercial TV channels such as ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The Scottish government has argued that in 2016 the BBC will raise £320 million (€376m) through the licence fee in Scotland, but it will spend only £175 million on services for Scottish viewers and listeners. In an independent Scotland, the SNP said it would use the £320 million to fund the new Scottish Broadcasting Service.