Eight SNP MSPs from the Highlands and Islands have signed a strongly-worded letter to BBC Scotland protesting at “destructive” job cuts which the Corporation is planning throughout the region.

Michael Russell (Argyll and Bute), Fergus Ewing (Inverness and Nairn), Rob Gibson (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross), Alasdair Allan (Western Isles), Dave Thomson (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch), and Highlands and Islands regional MSPs Jean Urquhart, John Finnie and Mike MacKenzie have all told the BBC that they believe its actions threaten to “greatly diminish the essential service” which the BBC provides throughout the Highlands and islands.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“It’s not just BBC staff themselves who is unhappy about the proposed cuts – everyone who cares about local broadcasting should be concerned that the BBC bosses propose to diminish its number of staff available throughout a huge swathe of Scotland.

“We are also unconvinced that it represents progress for Gaelic broadcasting to cut English language journalists and then ask Gaelic journalists to pick up the slack in addition to their own Gaelic work.

“We are now all seeking a meeting with the chair of the BBC Trust, to ask why, at a time when BBC Scotland should be showing ambition, and developing itself as a real national broadcaster, it is cutting back on such basic services.”