Recognising a Legal Status for British Sign Language

Liberal Democrats today passed the policy Recognising a Legal Status for British Sign Language which calls for better access to information and services for deaf people.

Liberal Democrats are committed to the principle that deaf people are entitled to identify with their own language and to have this respected, regardless of minority or majority language status.
Key proposals include:
  • The recognition of British Sign Language (BSL) as one of the UK’s official languages
  • Achieving better awareness of information needs and services for BSL users, particularly in health, education and employment
  • The protection of the linguistic integrity of the language
 Commenting, David Buxton, said:
“It is very important for this party and other political parties to see how seriously deaf people have been campaigning to get a legal status for British Sign Language.
“The Government did recognise BSL as a language in its own right in 2003, but 10 years on there has been no further progress towards a legal status.
“Our dream is to see deaf children in the future getting equal opportunities and having the right to learn BSL and English side by side, which will empower them to fully participate and contribute in wider society without oppression or restriction from teachers of the deaf, the majority of whom don’t sign fluently or even promote BSL positively.”

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