POWERS over broadcasting in Scotland could be devolved now but Westminster blocks it from happening, Angus Robertson has said at the launch of a new white paper.

The Culture Secretary told The National that it is “perfectly possible” for the current or any future UK Government to allow the Scottish Parliament to have powers over broadcasting, but that there is reluctance from Westminster to allow it to happen.

Currently, the powers to make decisions in the policy area are reserved to the UK under the Department for Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).

Robertson told journalists at a launch event for the 10th paper in the Building a New Scotland series in Glasgow on Friday that a new public broadcaster in Scotland could provide more jobs as well as cultural benefits.

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We told how the latest paper, Culture in an independent Scotland, set out that Scotland should have a new public broadcaster in the event of independence.

Robertson told The National that it would be for broadcasters, such as the BBC and Channel 4, to decide how they would maintain services in an independent Scotland, but that the Scottish Government would be willing to work with them and regulators.

Asked by The National if ministers would call for powers over broadcasting to be devolved to Holyrood, in lieu of independence, Robertson said: “Absolutely, we have for the longest time.

"The Scottish Government has been in favour of the devolution of broadcasting powers now, that could happen now, and other political parties could be in favour of it as well.

The National:

“It's perfectly possible for the current UK Government to do, it's perfectly possible for any incoming UK Government to do it.

“The Scottish Government's approach remains the same as it always was, which is broadcasting can be devolved now. Unfortunately, others have not agreed with that.

“Could they change their mind? I don't know that. That's for them to decide.

“We're in favour of it now. It'll definitely happen with independence.”

The paper states that the Scottish Government, at the point of independence, would still keep the BBC in place, with Scots still paying a licence fee and able to access content from the broadcaster.

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But, it would also seek to establish a new public broadcaster to be “more representative” of Scots and decisions that impact Scottish audiences would be decided north of the border.

Asked if he would hope this new broadcaster would eventually replace the BBC, Robertson said it leaves open “the modalities of a post-independence scenario”.

“One is going to have to work with existing broadcasters, and one is going to have to work with existing stakeholders, one is going to have to work with the existing regulators, until one is at a stage of having your own regulatory regime,” he added.

Robertson said it raised questions for existing broadcasters about how they wish to provide services in an independent Scotland.

He added: “We've given commitments around contractual safeguards around the licence fee, incidentally, these are things have been undermined in the UK, by a UK Government.

“We stand fully behind public service broadcasting, we stand behind a licence fee model, those are things that we wish to see continued.”

Asked if that meant it was essentially up to the BBC, Roberson said: “Different organisations will have to decide about how they wish to maintain their services in Scotland.

“The BBC receives significant licence fee income in Scotland, and I suspect they have a great interest in wanting to provide their services in Scotland.

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“But in terms of the government's approach to all of this, this is something that we want to work together with broadcasters and with regulators to make sure that we had the right regulatory regime which is independent of government, and then public service broadcasting provision, again, that is independent of government, but is headquartered here.”

Robertson also told journalists that there would be a significant boost for journalism and broadcasting post-independence, and pointed to northern European countries who have institutions with a “significantly larger footprint than UK broadcasters have in Scotland at th present time”.

He added: “I think the paper foresees both the advantages of being able to make policy around broadcasting in Scotland, but also a very clear economic benefit and in employment terms also for people who want to pursue a career in journalism, I think it's going to be an entirely beneficial development.”