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Update 01 - BSL Scotland Bill

12th December 2014 - Transcripts from BSL by David Buxton - BDA CEO:

I am here to update you on the Scottish BSL Bill.

Yesterday the Scottish Government wrote its own formal response to Mark Griffin's Bill BSL Bill.

Here is a break down of the Scottish Government’s position:

  • The Scottish Government welcomes the principles of the BSL (Scotland) Bill, and believes it will promote BSL as a language in Scotland and improve access for Deaf BSL users.

  • They want to set up a "a BSL National Advisory Group” and to consult with BSL users”.  That’s important and why your views matter!

  • They think that there should be more time allowed to update the National Plan, from 5 years to 7 years to allow for a more in-depth review.

  • They said the Bill doesn't say much about WHAT SHOULD BE IN the National Plan. The Scottish Government thinks it should include things like education, teaching BSL at school, increasing access to information and services in BSL and the shortage of BSL interpreters.

  • The Scottish Government says it expects to spend about £2m on BSL during 2016-20, so another £4m may be needed to implement the Bill.

  • Lastly, the Scottish Government recognises the importance of supporting BSL as a language first and then improving access to services and information in BSL. It’s good that they see it as a language first. 


  1. How can this Bill help change your life for the better?
  2. Remember when you were at school, and couldn’t access information? How could this Bill help? 
  3. How about if your hearing peers had been able to sign, because they'd studied BSL at GCSE instead of French or German - would that have given you more confidence?
  4. Are you concerned if there were lots more interpreters in, say, 5 years' time, but these were of poorer quality? And would you care if the interpreters were online-only instead of face-to-face?

Almost 1000 members have already sent their responses into Facebook in about a week!  

The BSL community is pioneering that by showing the Government that this WORKS.

Get your responses, show your signs, by 2 February.


You can share your views via Facebook, including in BSL video - visit "British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill" Facebook group - click here.



Graham Duff: spo.scot@bda.org.uk

Avril Hepner: cado.sthscot@bda.org.uk