Government backs British Sign Language Bill

British Sign Language Bill

Government backs British Sign Language Bill

The Government has backed an important British Sign Language (BSL) Bill in order to improve accessibility for deaf people.

The new Bill will see BSL recognised as a language across the UK.

It is believed that up to 250,000 Brits currently use BSL which involves communicating via hand gestures, facial expressions and body language.

The British Sign Language Bill was introduced by Rosie Cooper MP.

It aims to ensure that BSL will be provided for things such as public service announcements.

According to the Government, if the Bill is passed, an advisory board of BSL users will be able to offer advice to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on how and when to use sign language.

The move will mean that the DWP will have to either train or hire BSL interpreters to make it easier for deaf people to access what they need in terms of employment.

They have already launched an Access to Work pilot scheme for disabled university graduates who are now looking for jobs.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Chloe Smith, told the Government: “Effective communication is vital to creating a more inclusive and accessible society, and legally recognising British Sign Language in Great Britain is a significant step towards ensuring that deaf people are not excluded from reaching their potential.

“Passing the Bill will see government commit to improving the lives of deaf people, and will encourage organisations across the nation to take up the BSL mantle, benefitting both themselves and the deaf community.”

The Department for Transport has also reportedly launched a passenger assistance app to make it easier for wheelchair users to travel by train.

A Private Members Bill on British Sign Language was introduced back in June 2021, but the Government is due to have a Second Reading today, Friday 28 January.

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Lauren joined the Gi Media team in August 2021.