MINISTERS have welcomed a planned shake-up of the BBC's news coverage across the UK as a response to political devolution.

Director General Lord Hall has written to the Scottish Government, regional assemblies and UK ministers inviting them to submit evidence for an internal review of the BBC's news coverage.

He said: "As devolution continues, we believe that the BBC may need to adapt our services to ensure that they fully reflect and report the increasing divergent policies of the UK, with more aspects of public policy devolved.

"I believe that there is now a much stronger case for providing a different mix of news and current affairs to our audience."

The BBC's output was called into question during 2014's Scottish independence referendum and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has since called for a dedicated Scotland channel and a second English-language radio station. She also wants Scotland to have its own 6 O'Clock News bulletin.

It comes in the wake of a report last year by the BBC, which criticised it’s coverage of the independence referendum for too often parachuting in London-based presenters and journalists who didn’t have much local knowledge of the campaign.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We welcome this review, which builds on the consultation and engagement that the Scottish Government is already leading as part of the Charter Renewal process.

“The BBC is Scotland’s national broadcaster and it is therefore vital that its news and programmes properly reflect the life of audiences here. This includes providing the highest quality news and current affairs that matches the increased democratic interest in Scotland since the referendum – a change which can be made now, without being built into the new Charter.

“The Scottish Government has been encouraging the BBC to do this for some time now - in the Culture Secretary’s recent meeting with the BBC Director General and discussions with other senior BBC representatives – as well as continuing to push for the BBC to address the current mismatch between the £335 million income for the BBC from Scotland and the £190 million spent here, of which only around £35 million is spent on TV production for Scotland.”

The report in July found Scottish audiences believe BBC Scotland needed a "thorough reassessment" of its news output and questioned its impartiality in covering the independence referendum.

Although the Audience Council Scotland, the BBC Trust's advisory body, welcomed the "strong performance" of the BBC in Scotland in its annual review, it said coverage of Scotland had not changed significantly since devolution in 1999 and "is not able to fully reflect the needs of audiences in contemporary Scotland".

The development comes after Sarah Smith was made BBC’s first Scotland Editor to help bring "more in-depth analysis and context" on big Scottish stories to UK audiences.

Ms Smith started her career at BBC Scotland and went on to work for Channel 4 News before returning to the corporation. Her new role will be based in Glasgow and is expected to start in the new year.