THE BBC is failing to deliver on its Charter’s commitment to “reflect, represent and serve” Scotland, according to a SNP submission to the broadcasting regulator.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party has given its views to Ofcom which is consulting on the licensing of a new BBC Scotland channel, due to launch next February. The SNP said the new channel must address these vital “public purpose” concerns.

It said: “A key public purpose in the BBC Charter states that the corporation must ‘reflect, represent and serve the diverse communities of all of the United Kingdom’s nations and regions and, in doing so, support the creative economy across the United Kingdom.’

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“We believe the BBC currently fails to deliver on this public purpose in Scotland, and the new channel must address and reverse this shortcoming. This has also been noted by industry professionals.”

The document said that the BBC’s news coverage in Scotland falls short by not comparing how public services north of the Border compare with those in the rest of the UK. It also said there was a “disparity of focus” in BBC Scotland’s news coverage which concentrated on “negative” coverage and scrutiny of business at Holyrood and not sufficiently on the impact on Scotland of decisions and events at Westminster.

“The people of Scotland were told, repeatedly during the referendum campaign, that Scotland has two governments and two parliaments. And yet BBC Scotland’s news focus – particularly so with Reporting Scotland – is predominantly focused on negative aspects of matters concerning devolved powers. Conversely, the coverage of reserved matters including the impact of UK Government decisions on the people of Scotland is given far less space and coverage,” it stated.

The new channel’s £32 million a year budget was a further concern as was insufficient coverage given to Scotland on the network despite the appointment of a Scotland editor.

“In 2015/16 the BBC raised [more than] £320m from the licence fee in Scotland but only spent 54.6% of this revenue on programming in Scotland,” said the submission, pointing out Wales got 95% and Northern Ireland 75%.

Blair Jenkins, former head of news and current affairs at both STV and BBC Scotland told The National he had been very concerned about the budget for the new channel from the beginning.

He said: “The view inside BBC Scotland is to get it up and running, show that it works, and then make the case for more investment. But the new channel has to be very ambitious and very innovative from the start, with programmes that get talked about and win large audiences. That costs more money than they seem to have available.

“It is a concern that the level of funding is so much less than the budget we proposed in the Scottish Broadcasting Commission 10 years ago. Like the SNP, I want to be cautiously optimistic, but no one should be under any illusions about how hard it is to launch a new channel.”

A spokesman for BBC Scotland said: “Our news service will be enhanced further with the launch of a nightly one-hour news programme on the proposed channel if final regulatory approval is granted. We reject the criticism that our news focuses predominantly on negative aspects of matters concerning devolved powers and that the appointment of a Scotland editor has made little difference to our output.

“Our audiences expect us to scrutinise public policy on their behalf – and that applies no matter who is in power or whether the political institutions are in Edinburgh, London or Brussels. Our plans have been fully costed and we’re very confident that they will enable us to produce a channel which has a mix of high quality programming that will appeal to a wide range of viewers. The BBC is currently investing an additional £40m annually in broadcasting in Scotland, which is significantly more than in other parts of the UK. It represents the biggest single investment in broadcast content in Scotland in [more than] 20 years.”

A spokesman for Ofcom said: “We will carefully consider all responses to our consultation, before reaching our final decision.”