THE boss of STV is to appear before MSPs next week to justify swingeing job cuts at the broadcaster.

Chief executive Simon Pitts will give evidence to Holyrood’s culture committee after it emerged almost 60 positions are at risk.

The controversial move is part of a major overhaul which will also see the loss-making STV2 channel axed less than a year after launching.

READ MORE: STV staff to ballot for strikes over job losses

Critics have branded it a “hammer blow to broadcasting in Scotland” and raised fears the plans will hit the quality of STV’s output.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, convener of the culture committee, confirmed Mr Pitts had accepted an invitation to appear before MSPs on June 7.

She said: "I can confirm that committee members agreed to ask Simon Pitts, CEO of STV, to give evidence on June 7 and he has accepted.

“All members of the committee were concerned about the announcement both regarding the divestment of the local TV licenses and the proposed job losses in news and were keen to take evidence from Mr Pitts.

“The committee is concluding a major inquiry into Scotland's screen industries at the moment and these developments are relevant to our current workstream."

READ MORE: Culture Secretary contacts Ofcom to raise concerns about proposed cuts at STV

Mr Pitts announced the overhaul just months after joining STV and receiving a 'golden hello' package worth £850,000.

The proposals will see 25 jobs cut at STV2, while a further 34 will be lost at STV News.

Angry staff are now threatening strike action, and will meet today to decide whether to press ahead with industrial action.

An STV spokeswoman said Mr Pitts “looks forward to the opportunity of sharing details of STV's three-year growth plan with members of the culture committee”.

She said: "Our new strategy will see us invest £15m in new programming for Scottish audiences, in improving our digital service, and in news.

“This is far more than the amount we are saving, with the aim of securing STV as an independent creative force in Scotland and beyond.”

READ MORE: STV staff to ballot for strikes over job losses

She said the plans reflect “changes in audience habits”, and insisted quality would be maintained “through an extensive training programme and a managed transition which we expect will not be completed until late this year”.

She added: "As a commercial public service broadcaster we have had to make some difficult choices in our strategic plan. Our decision to close STV2 was not an easy one, but redirecting our investment into new programming for STV and the STV Player will offer more choice for Scottish viewers as well as reach new audiences.

"We are actively engaged in discussions with our team and the trade unions on the details and implementation of our plans."