BBC chiefs are considering using journalists working for Gaelic TV and radio to cover for cuts in senior editorial staff in the English service in Inverness.

The Herald has learned concerns are being raised about using staff, who are partly supported by public money from the Scottish Government specifically for Gaelic broadcasting, to take up any slack created by the broadcaster's cutbacks.

As The Herald revealed last week, two of the four senior broadcast journalists in Inverness are to go. It is part of cuts confirmed by the BBC that will see 35 staff posts in BBC Scotland go by the end of March – 17 in news and current affairs, eight in Radio Scotland, six in marketing and communications and two in New Media, Learning & Outreach and the same in Gaelic.

Historian Professor Jim Hunter, a former chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: "There has been a long-standing view expressed in Scotland that there is a London bias within the BBC. But from a Highland perspective if that is the case, it is far less of a problem than the Glasgow-centred focus of BBC Scotland."

The Herald has learned the BBC is looking at ways of using journalists working on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and BBC Alba to cover some of the English output.

BBC Alba has a budget of £14 million with £10m coming from MG ALBA, which is funded from the Scottish Government, and £4m from BBC Scotland.

Iain MacDonald, spokesman for the National Union of Journalists at BBC Inverness, said: "It is true that management used the expression 'synergies' between Gaelic and English, but I don't want to comment further at this stage."

A spokesman for BBC Scotland in Glasgow said: "The BBC's investment in Inverness and the Highlands is the biggest it has ever been, both in English and Gaelic newsgathering. There is close collaboration between the two and that will continue, but no decision has been made to use Gaelic journalists to cover English stories."

But Highland Labour MSP David Stewart said: "I have already put down a member's motion in the Scottish Parliament expressing serious concerns about cutting senior posts in the BBC in Inverness."