SCOTTISH Television staff are concerned they will not be able to produce quality regional programming after voluntary redundancies were announced last week.

Station owner SMG Television confirmed last week that Scotland Today news presenters Sarah Heaney and Shereen Nanjiani and sports presenter Jane Lewis would all be taking voluntary redundancy.

But eight other journalists have also agreed to leave, including veteran business correspondent Alan Saunby, news reporters Claire Dean, Becky Hunter, Matt Bingham and Roddy Scott and sports reporter Iona Scott.

The redundancies are part of a wider reorganisation that will see a total of 55 job cuts at SMG.

"People were so unhappy that they were prepared to take a redundancy deal with no job to go to. Morale was so low that going to nothing was better than the status quo, " said an STV source.

"The channel doesn't seem interested in producing quality regional programming. People didn't feel they were part of a genuine creative environment where they could feel proud of the work they were doing."

In 2007, the station plans to produce two different Scotland Today programmes, one aimed at the east coast and the other focused on the west. But according to a source, journalists are questioning how that will be achieved with the current staffing levels, or even how existing quality thresholds will be maintained.

"The newsroom struggles even with current staffing levels. To cut 11 people is going to have a fairly sizeable impact. Those that are left are going to be working under a lot of pressure."

An STV spokeswoman, however, said that the headcount reduction in the newsroom was made because it had already cut a half-hour news feature programme that aired daily during the week. She said there would be no changes to the frequency or quality of the station's news programming going forward.

She added that the news team would be discussing preparations for the move to its new Pacific Quay offices and how the Scotland Today programme will evolve over the remainder of the year.