Digital Economy Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Lord Wigley Lord Wigley Plaid Cymru 6:30 pm, 8th February 2017

My Lords, I am delighted to add my support to the amendment, and to thank the noble Lord very much for the work he has put into this. As one who has campaigned on disability issues over the years in another place, alongside certain other colleagues who are in the Chamber tonight, I know that it is vital, in line with the social definition of disability, to make sure that handicap is not caused by the failure of those who can control our environment, whether that be the social, the physical or the psychological environment.

We are talking about creating a social environment in which it is possible for people who could depend so much on, and enjoy so much, the benefits of broadcasting to get that full benefit—provided that the necessary adjustments are made. I was for some years a member of the S4C authority, and I am acutely aware of the challenges of meeting the necessary standards. It is not a cheap option—but, as the noble Lord rightly said, technological changes are taking place that make it possible for translation, both between languages and with sign languages and other means of conveying information, to be done almost automatically, at low cost. Undoubtedly this will be much more available in the future. I hope that we will look at this amendment with an eye to that future, and that we will harness all the technology that may be available, so as to prevent—as I am sure we all wish to do, where we can—a disability becoming a handicap.