THE BBC has been told it needs to spend millions of pounds more making programmes in Scotland.

The broadcaster's new regulator, Ofcom, said it wants the corporation to spend the same on programmes, per head, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

That means the current budget of around £70million will increase by several million as Ofcom wants the BBC in Scotland to account for around 8 per cent of the money spent on network programmes by the BBC as a minimum quota.

This is an increase from the 7.7 per cent registered by BBC Scotland in its last annual report, a figure which had fallen from 9.2 per cent.

The proposals mark the first time a minimum network quota has been set for the nations of the UK based on population size.

The regulator said: "We want all parts of the UK to be reflected, and invested in, by the BBC.

"This means the BBC must spend the same on programmes, per head, in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as ensuring that at least half of all programmes shown nationally and produced in the UK are made outside of London.

"Also, we will soon review our guidance on programmes made outside London, to ensure these productions make a genuine contribution to the creative economies of the UK’s nations and regions, which could include greater programme making or investment in these areas."

Ofcom has also announced new quotas to ensure more original, UK productions on flagship channels BBC1 and BBC2 as well as children's channels CBeebies and CBBC.

It has also said it wants 75 per cent of Gaelic channel BBC Alba's output, or total hours, to be original productions, a significant step up from the current figure, which is around 25per cent

It also wants the BBC to increase its news and current affairs output.

Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom's content and media policy director, said: "The BBC is the cornerstone of UK broadcasting. It should deliver quality content for its whole audience, with programmes that reflect the UK's rich culture and showcase all its talents.

The move follows a long running debate about whether Scotland should have its own news programmes, usually referred to as the Scottish Six to replace the UK news bulletin followed by Reporting Scotland.

However last month the BBC announced a new dedicated Scottish digital channel featuring an hour-long news programme at 9pm. It also announced a new £19 million investment and 80 jobs, and the prospect of more home-grown drama.

Following the Ofcom announcement a BBC spokesman said: "Ofcom has focused on the right priorities including the distinctiveness of the BBC’s services, serving audiences throughout the whole UK and diversity.

"The draft Operating Licence appears to be a balanced but properly stretching and challenging document. We will consider the details carefully.

"We will shortly publish an Annual Plan which will set out how our services will deliver the mission and public purposes defined in the Charter."

Meanwhile one of the BBC's most popular sports presenters has announced she is leaving her post as lead anchor of the broadcaster's coverage of the Masters golf tournament.

Hazel Irvine will front the Masters for the final time next month but will be replaced by another Scot, Eilidh Barbour.

Ms Irvine said: "I was pleased to be offered another long-term contract with BBC Sport to continue presenting snooker, golf and major events.

"However, after much thought, I have decided that in what is my 30th year in broadcast sport, I want to realign my on-air commitments around the changing needs of my family.

"I am delighted that a fellow Scot, Eilidh Barbour, will be given this chance. I'm sure that she will enjoy it as much as I have."

Ms Irvine will continue to present snooker and other sporting events for the BBC.