Nick Brown MP MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East
I have received a number of emails from constituents asking me to support greater recognition for British Sign Language (BSL). The Labour Government recognised BSL as a language in its own right in 2003. However, BSL is not currently granted particular status by legislation. The most relevant legislative recognition is the Equality Act 2010 requiring employers and service providers to make reasonable adjustments. However, this doesn’t focus on the importance of BSL as a language. I agree that more needs to be done and support introducing a British Sign Language Act to give BSL full recognition. As part of the of the ‘Where is the Interpreter’ campaign, I corresponded with several Deaf and BSL-using constituents during the height of coronavirus lockdown. Following this, I wrote to the then Health Secretary asking why BSL interpreters were not present at government coronavirus briefings, other than on the BBC News Channel and iPlayer. I will continue to hold the Government to account on recognition and promotion of BSL.