Sign Language

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 8th June 2022.

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Photo of Ian Levy Ian Levy Conservative, Blyth Valley

What steps the Government are taking to improve public knowledge and awareness of sign language.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Government were delighted to support the private Member’s Bill to recognise British Sign Language as a language of Great Britain. We will improve public knowledge and awareness of BSL, including through guidance that will help to promote and facilitate the use of the language, and much more.

Photo of Ian Levy Ian Levy Conservative, Blyth Valley

I welcome the introduction of the British Sign Language Act 2022, recognising BSL as an official language in England, Scotland and Wales. However, families in Blyth Valley still feel discriminated against in such areas as free sign language classes and educational opportunities for deaf children in schools. Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is still much more to be done to improve the lives of people in our communities?

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

We are passionate about improving opportunities for deaf people who use BSL and increasing general public understanding of deaf people’s language and culture. Linguistic exclusion is a problem and can affect education, jobs and more.