Deaf News: Are Deaf people being left out of the Scottish independence debate?

Posted on May 21, 2014

Three months ago, Toby Dawson wrote an article for this site about how Scottish independence would be an opportunity for Scotland’s Deaf people.

However, there is doubt about just how engaged Deaf people are with the independence debate, with an article on the BBC website revealing that just 29 copies of the White Paper (in BSL) have been sent out to Deaf people.

Here’s an extract:

John Denerley, from charity Deaf Connections, believes not enough has been done to inform and engage with those who are unable to hear.

He spoke after the BBC found just 29 copies of a sign language version of the White Paper had been sent out.

Mr Denerley said it was a ridiculously low number for Scotland’s 5,000 British Sign Language (BSL) users.

The people of Scotland will be going to the polls on 18 September to vote in the independence referendum.

They will be asked the “Yes/No” question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

‘Frankly embarrassing’

The Scottish government, and both the “Yes” and “No” campaigns, said they were engaging with voters who were disabled.

BBC Scotland made a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to find out the alternative ways people had of accessing the Scottish government’s White Paper on independence.

It found that, as well as the 29 sign language DVDs, there had been eight ordered in Braille along with 54 audio copies.

Mr Denerley said: “It’s ridiculous, shocking, and frankly embarrassing only 29 copies have been ordered.


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