Wednesday 27th April 2022 will go down in history as the day the BSL Bill passed its final Parliamentary stage, meaning it will be legally recognised in England, Scotland and Wales.
The Bill means that:
- BSL will be recognised as an official language in England, Scotland and Wales
- The Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) must enforce guidance on how government departments promote or facilitate BSL in its communications, with regular reports on progress
- Deaf BSL users will be consulted when developing guidance
- This is a massive step towards inclusivity and accessibility, reducing barriers for deaf people to fully participate in society. The aim is that communications with state services, including NHS appointments, will be less challenging.
Rosie Cooper MP, who introduced the bill in June 2021, shared her thoughts on the passing of the bill:
“At long last, the deaf community will be able to say that their language is legally recognised… Working across party lines and with the Deaf community, I really believe we have made history by creating a mechanism for Deaf people to achieve equal access to public services. Their voices will be heard loud and clear and there will be no excuse for failing to respect BSL as a language.”[Source]
The deaf community have a lot to celebrate with this bill becoming a law, with many people being involved campaigning and raising awareness. Deaf Action wants to thank every person who took a stand in support of the Bill – your contributions undoubtedly helped make this a reality and will make a huge difference to deaf people across the UK.