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PM promises action over sign language shortcomings

PM promises action over sign language shortcomings
15th January 2021 Ian Streets

The Prime Minister promised to act to increase the use of sign language in Downing Street press briefings after being challenged again over the lack of provision for deaf people.

The Mirror reported that Boris Johnson was accused of a “shameful” lack of regard for deaf people over the failure to provide sign language interpretation at the coronavirus announcements.

The newspaper said the Prime Minister has been criticised in the past about the lack of an interpreter at the events, with the Scottish and Welsh governments routinely having an interpreter at their coronavirus briefings.

At the Commons Liaison Committee Mr Johnson said: “I’ve now been asked this a couple of times, about sign language in particular.

“There are various logistical issues that need to be overcome but I’m going to take that away and see what we can to do increase sign language.”

The Mirror reported that the Prime Minister insisted that public information campaigns were “provided in accessible formats and translations” and “we have multiple media channels that we use to help reach people”.

According to the Mirror, Senior Tory Caroline Nokes, who chairs the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, criticised his response.

She told him: “On October 12 (when the tier system was announced) you said there hadn’t been enough time to get a BSL interpreter for broadcast then. There wasn’t enough time, clearly, last week.

“And today you are still ‘taking it away’. I think it is absolutely shameful that we haven’t done better on this when both the Welsh and Scottish governments have.”


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