Devolution and Communications Policy in Scotland

Philip Schlesinger

in Anglo-Scottish Relations, from 1900 to Devolution and Beyond

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263310
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734144 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Devolution and Communications Policy in Scotland

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter illustrates how ‘most of the Holyrood political class has been reluctant to explore the boundaries between the devolved and the reserved’, even on less life-and-death issues such as broadcasting. Conversely, it also tells of at least one post-devolution success story for classic informal pre-devolution-style ‘Scottish lobbying’ in Westminster. Scotland is presently one of the UK's leading audiovisual production centres, with Glasgow as the linchpin. The capacity of the Scottish Parliament to debate questions of media concentration but also its incapacity to act legislatively has been observed. There are both political and economic calculations behind the refusal to devolve powers over the media via the Communications Act 2003. Ofcom now has a key role in policing the terms of trade for regional production that falls within a public service broadcaster's target across the UK. The BBC's position as the principal vehicle of public service broadcasting has come increasingly under question. The Gaelic Media Service set up under the Communications Act 2003 has a line of responsibility to Ofcom in London. Scottish Advisory Committee on Telecommunications (SACOT) determined four key regulatory issues needing future attention by Ofcom.

Keywords: Scotland; devolution; Communications Act 2003; Ofcom; Westminster; Gaelic Media Service; Scottish Parliament; public service broadcasting; Scottish Advisory Committee on Telecommunications

Chapter.  5942 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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