As part of BBC ALBA’s tenth anniversary debate in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (Wednesday September 19th) SNP MSP Alasdair Allan called on the BBC to “deliver more for Gaelic broadcasting with better parity of resources between the UK nations.”
BBC ALBA’s BAFTA-winning current affairs programme Eòrpa attracts both Gaelic and non-Gaelic speaking audiences – demonstrating the success the channel has had in delivering for the whole of Scotland, not just the minority language community.
BBC ALBA is a partnership service between the BBC and MG ALBA, which receives core funding of £12.8m from the Scottish Government that is often supplemented with additional funding to reflect the service’s success.
With only 55% of Scottish licence fee funds reinvested in Scotland by the BBC in 2015/16, compared to 95% in Wales and 74% in Northern Ireland, MG ALBA has previously called on the BBC to increase its investment in the Gaelic channel in order to fund 10 hours programming per week, as is the case for S4C in Wales.
Alasdair Allan MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar said: “BBC ALBA has excelled not only in delivering a fantastic public service to Gaelic speakers in their own language over the last decade – it has also helped raise the profile of the language and culture.
“Historically, television played its part in the demise of the Gaelic language, along with a plethora of other developments like the Education (Scotland) Act 1872.
"However, in 2018, BBC ALBA and Radio nan Gàidheal are helping to reverse that trend.
“There’s no doubt that the BBC needs to commit considerably more investment to Scottish content overall, and that includes BBC ALBA.
“The SNP will continue to press the BBC to deliver more for Gaelic broadcasting with better parity of resources between the UK nations, and in turn ensure that BBC ALBA’s next ten years will be even more successful than the last.”
Meanwhile the Scottish Parliament has renewed its commitment to Gaelic with the publication of its new Gaelic Language plan.
Published on Wednesday September 19th, the plan sets out how the Scottish Parliament will promote and support the language over the next five years.
The Parliament's Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh MSP, said the plan demonstrates the value and respect Holyrood has for the Gaelic language.
Mr Macintosh said: "For more than a decade, Scots law has recognised the cultural and historic significance of Gaelic, and the vital part it plays in our nation's age-old story and identity.
"As someone born in the Highlands and the son of a native Gaelic speaker, I was proud to be one of those who voted to pass the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.
"Over the past 10 years, our plans have ensured that people see and hear Gaelic being used in our Parliament. Despite the prominence of the language at Holyrood, Gaelic remains vulnerable and we cannot afford to be complacent.
"In this our third language plan, our focus is on public services and activities in Gaelic that provide a clear offer to the public, staff and MSPs alike. When it comes to Gaelic at the Parliament, we want people to see it, hear it, and use it."
Welcoming the publication of the Gaelic Plan Daibhidh Boag, Director of Language Planning and Community Developments with Bord na Gaidhlig said: "Bord na Gaidhlig is delighted to see the publication of the Scottish Parliament's Gaelic Plan for 2018 to 2023. Parliament's support for Gaelic is crucial to the future of the language and we welcome the continuing commitment to ensuring that the language is prominent throughout the Parliament building and in the work of the Parliament. The National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2023 has increased usage of Gaelic; increased learning of the language and the promotion of a positive image for Gaelic as its core aims and it is essential that high-profile national bodies such as the Scottish Parliament should reflect those aims and objectives."