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Hearing Impairment: Telecommunications

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 27th June 2012.

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Photo of Gemma Doyle Gemma Doyle Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

(1) if the Minister for Disabled People will attend meetings of the e-Accessibility Forum sub-group on relay services;

(2) what meetings have taken place between Ministers in his Department and the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries on the ability of deaf sign-language users to access telecommunications services which are functionally equivalent to those enjoyed by hearing people;

(3) what recent meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with representatives of the deaf community to discuss access to telecommunications.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Officials from the Department for Work and Pension's Office for Disability Issues will attend the relay services working group and keep me informed of progress, as this is not a ministerial group.

I recently met with the Minister with responsibility for culture, communications and creative industry’s, my hon. Friend Mr Vaizey, to discuss what steps can be taken to improve the lives of disabled people, and relay services was a part of those discussions. We share a common aim of seeing more progress in this area as it has the potential to transform lives. We were therefore pleased that Ofcom plans a consultation on Video Relay Services this later this year.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport lead on this particular area, but access to telecommunications does come up frequently in discussions with Department for Work and Pensions at our new Disability Strategy meetings, which are attended by representatives from the deaf community.

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