The director of BBC Scotland has said he “regrets” any confusion over its coverage of the First Minister’s daily coronavirus briefings.

In September, BBC Scotland came under fire when it said it would no longer be providing live coverage of every coronavirus briefing from the Scottish Government.

Instead, the broadcaster had said it would decide whether the daily briefings from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would be televised based on “editorial merit”.

But Steve Carson has today said the broadcaster never intended to stop coverage of the briefings, despite some members of the BBC audience forming that impression.

Mr Carson answered questions at the Scottish Parliament’s Culture Committee today as MSPs took evidence on the BBC’s annual report and accounts.

In response to a question from SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing, he said: “I do regret, and I agree, that for a period of days people were incredibly confused as to what they thought the BBC were doing.”

READ MORE: BBC Scotland stopping daily live coverage of Nicola Sturgeon's coronavirus briefings

According to Mr Carson, the BBC were acting out of their legal obligation to due impartiality, and for this reason the original decision was intended to make clear that coverage of the briefings was not as a result of any “directive”.

Liberal Democrat MSP Beatrice Wishart asked the director about differing perceptions of the BBC in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK.

An Ofcom report previously found 64 per cent of people in Scotland feel the BBC is “effective at informing, educating and entertaining people”, compared to 71 per cent in England.

Mr Carson said consumption levels are higher north of the border, while recent investment has created hundreds of hours of new content for Scotland.

He said people who work for BBC News Scotland are “people of quality and integrity and they work hard every day to provide a diet of fair and accurate information”.

He added: “Whether it’s unconscious or not, on days when people want trusted, accurate information – for example on Covid – they come to the BBC in droves.

“They might have told a pollster ‘I’m a bit worried about the BBC’, but when it really comes down to it and you want safety information for yourself and your family, you’re coming to Reporting Scotland, you’re coming to BBC News Scotland online.”

The corporation has seen “enormous” levels of consumption during the pandemic, he said, with programmes like Off The Ball becoming “some of the biggest digital properties in the BBC”.

It comes after BBC Scotland last week said goodbye to a number of big names at the broadcaster as the corporation strives to cut costs.

Among those taking voluntary redundancy are Gordon Brewer and GMS anchors Isabel Fraser and Bill Whiteford.

In total, 60 jobs will go, saving the corporation £6.2 million.