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17 September 2013





Tuesday 17th September, 2013 

The British Deaf Association (BDA) welcomed this morning’s Policy motion debate at the Liberal Democrats Conference in Glasgow entitled “Recognising a Legal Status for British Sign Language”.  Every delegate in the hall voted in favour of the motion which urged Liberal Democrat Ministers to act on British Sign Language (BSL) and address the important implications for Deaf people and their families in their fight to achieve more opportunities, access and equality.

Dr Terry Riley, the BDA’s Chair, said: “We are delighted that this motion was well presented by David Buxton in his capacity as a former Councillor and Parliamentary Candidate. We are aiming to get a fair deal for British Sign Language and for it to be seen as equal to Welsh and Scots Gaelic in terms of legal status and public funding. BSL gets very little financial support, only a few hundred thousand pounds a year. Funding shortfall leads to situations, for example, where teachers of the Deaf find it hard to understand what their deaf children are trying to sign, simply because they do not have the necessary minimum requirement of BSL Level 3. We want to see this generation and future generations of deaf children getting a better education, learning both BSL and English. Language is of paramount importance to all children and is a basic human right.”

The BDA is currently working to encourage other political parties to follow suit and recognise BSL as an indigenous language of the UK through Sir Malcolm Bruce's Private Members Bill “Communication Support (Deafness) Bill” in the next parliamentary session.


Issued by:

British Deaf Association
2nd Floor
356 Holloway Road
London N7 6PA

Telephone: 0207 697 4140 
Email: headoffice@bda.org.uk

Website: www.bda.org.uk