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“Not good enough”: Deaf people denied access to BBC’s broadcast of Autumn Statement today

3 December 2014

BDA has challenged BBC News’ broadcast of today’s Autumn Statement, noting that its usual British Sign Language interpreter’s were absent from today’s live broadcast.

This was particularly noteworthy, given today marks the United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

“Enough is enough,” said BDA Chair, Dr Terry Riley OBE, who further went on to say:

“Today was an important day in the House of Commons. The long waited Autumn Budget was to be unveiled. The news broadcasters filled our TV screens, as Chancellor George Osborne updated MPs about the state of the economy in his last Autumn Statement before the general election.

“But it was not inclusive coverage by the BBC. One community was left out - deaf people, whose first and preferred language is British Sign Language (BSL). Once again, Deaf people are unfairly denied the right to access this vital information that is their right.

“Deaf people meet their responsibilities as active, tax-paying citizens. Deaf people pay the full TV license rate, and yet they are denied the rightful benefits of this license and of receiving information in the same way that hearing people do.

“The provision of subtitles is not the same as providing information in BSL. As a public body, the BBC should remain accountable for providing fair and equal access to all, under the Equality Act 2010.

“This is 2014. We can reach space, travel the world, but we are not afforded the right to receive information in BSL by a National Public Broadcaster, such as the BBC. It is not good enough.

“All we are asking for is equality. Nothing more, nothing less. We live in a democracy, but one needs access to information to participate in that democracy.”