VIDEO - First Minister announces funding boost for MG ALBA

Gaelic broadcaster MG Alba will receive £2.1 million of new funding, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today (Wednesday).

MG ALBA is a public body, funded by the Scottish Governement, that works in partnership with BBC Scotland. Together, MG ALBA and BBC produce the channel BBC ALBA.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon at this morning's Cabinet meeting.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon at this morning's Cabinet meeting.

MG ALBA will receive £1 million in 2014-15 and £1 million in 2015-16, the remaining two years of this spending review. It will also receive £100,000 for programming.

The First Minister also opened a new £2.5 million Creative Industries and Media Centre at the site of a former Harris Tweed mill near Stornoway.

He met cast members of CBBC’s Katie Morag programme, which is being redubbed in Gaelic for transmission on BBC Alba.

The centre, home to 80 staff, will house broadcaster MG Alba, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, independent production companies, radio station Isles FM and community facilities.

Since BBC Alba became available on Freeview, its viewing figures have increased and the channel now regularly achieves a weekly reach in excess of 750,000 viewers.

Mr Salmond said: “I am delighted to open these new facilities which will be an important boost to the local economy, to the broadcasting industry and to the use of Gaelic both in the Western Isles and throughout Scotland.

“Scotland is enriched by the existence of different cultures and languages including Gaelic and this Government is committed to creating a sustainable future for the language.

“BBC Alba plays a key role in promoting the speaking and learning of the Gaelic language in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has made clear its ambition to develop broadcasting and media industries in Scotland and the £2.1 million in new funding will enable MG Alba to progress and to build on its recent and impressive success.

“This new centre has a critical role to play in developing capacity and helping to acheieve that ambition.”

Maggie Cunningham, chair of MG ALBA, which operates the channel in partnership with the BBC, said:

“This announcement is very good news for BBC ALBA and the creative industries in Scotland and demonstrates great faith in the channel.

“Last year was the channel’s strongest performance to date both in terms of viewer numbers and programme-making.

“This announcement by the First Minister will help us do what we do best - make high quality home-grown TV programmes for a channel that is making a significant contribution to Scottish broadcasting.”