Deaf News: 31 MPs back BSL Campaign (so far)

Posted on March 19, 2013


On the tenth anniversary of the official recognition of BSL (British sign language), 31 MPs from the major parties have called on the government to do more to support BSL users across public services.

Led by Liberal Democrat MP Malcolm Bruce, who himself is the parent of a deaf daughter, the MPs signed what is called an early-day motion (EDM) which calls for a debate on the issue on an ‘early day’, meaning soon. In reality, the topics raised in an EDM are rarely debated but MPs use the system to highlight particular problems or causes. Here is the wording of the motion:

That this House joins the British Deaf Association, the Royal Association for Deaf People and Signature in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Government’s official recognition of British Sign Language (BSL) on 18 March 2003; notes that BSL is used by many thousands of deaf people as their first or preferred language alongside English; further notes that BSL users still find it hard to access health, education and other services as well as employment due to a lack of public awareness and interpreters; further notes that some good work is being done by different Government departments to support BSL users but that this is piecemeal and not co-ordinated; urges the Government to renew its efforts in this direction in 2013; and calls on the Government to prepare a short, cross-departmental report which pulls together all that it is currently doing to support BSL users and to identify the barriers that still remain to BSL users’ full participation in, and contribution to, British society.

The BDA here explain how you can encourage your own MP to add his name to the motion. The more names the motion has attached – the more likely it is to be noticed.

The organisers of the new BSL Act Group on Facebook and the BDA will be bouyed by the support from MPs as they look to capitalise on their success in forming a group of almost 11,000 people looking to enshirine the rights of BSL users in law with a specific BSL Act of Parliament.

More on the BSL Act Campaign:

Downfall video parody

Key Figures Unite to support BSL Act campaign

BDA in live BSL anniversary webcast

Andy volunteers for the Peterborough and District Deaf Children’s Society on their website, deaf football coaching and other events as well as working for a hearing loss charity. Contact him on twitter @LC_AndyP (all views expressed are his own).

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