I have called on the UK Government to recognise British Sign Language (BSL) with full legal status.
I have signed an Early Day Motion which states:
That this House welcomes the 14th anniversary of the Government’s official recognition of British Sign Language on 18 March 2017; celebrates the culture and heritage of sign language; and calls on the Government to enact a British Sign Language Act in England to give British Sign Language full legal status as is afforded to other officially recognised languages
The last Labour Government recognised BSL as an official minority language, which saw increased funding for the needs of the communication of people who are Deaf.
Based on official statistics it is believed that 151,000 people use BSL in the UK and that 87,000 of these are Deaf. These figures do not include professional BSL users, interpreters, translators etc unless they use BSL at home.
There are believed to be 7,200 people in Wales who use BSL and that of these 4,000 are Deaf.
It is important that we move forward with giving British Sign Language (BSL) full legal status, building upon the progress that Labour made whilst in Government. With 7,200 people in Wales using BSL giving it full legal status will give them access to the same funding that Welsh does. This is important to make sure that our society is as open as possible to all.
I want to make sure that our country is a place that is welcoming to all people. Not disability should be a barrier to living the life you wish. I am urging the Government to fully recognise BSL to make sure this becomes a reality.
I will be working with my colleagues on the Labour benches to make sure this hope becomes a reality.