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An independent Scotland would not be able to afford a broadcaster such as the BBC, it has been claimedBBC

An independent Scotland would not be able to afford a broadcaster like the BBC and could lose popular shows including Top Gear and EastEnders.

Former BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland claims a 'Yes' vote at the referendum on 18 September could put the brakes on BBC transmissions across the border.

Bland, who was chairman of the broadcaster between 1996 and 2001, said all member states of the United Kingdom played their part in making the BBC viable.

Talking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: "Scotland isn't big enough to support a really good broadcasting corporation on its own. And neither is Wales, and neither is Northern Ireland and actually neither is England.

"We need all four parts of the United Kingdom to have a really strong BBC."

Bland's comments came on the same day Edinburgh-based pensions and insurance giant Standard Life revealed "precautionary measures" to customers in case the nation votes to secede from the 300-year-old union.

Chief executive David Nish told customers the group is prepared to move parts of its business to England.

"Standard Life has a long history in Scotland – a heritage of which we are very proud and we hope that this continues but our responsibility is to protect the interests of our customers, our shareholders, our people and other stakeholders in our business," Nish said.

"Black Wednesday"

The revelations came on a day dubbed as SNP First Minister Alex Salmond's "Black Wednesday", after the latest poll suggested the 'No' campaign had surged six points ahead.

The Survation poll of decided voters, published by the Daily Record, gave the 'No' campaign 53% of the vote to the 'Yes' campaign's 47%.