Join us Support us

‘Parliament & Policy Work’ Category

27 MarBSL Costings Inquiry Group – Statement

Recent work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness (APPGD), by members of UKCoD, regarding an Inquiry into the cost of BSL recognition stalled due to lack of resources and change of government following the election in 2017.

A group, supported by UKCoD has agreed to scope a study on the ‘Delphi’ principles, as a viable and cost-effective alternative to a formal APPG Inquiry. The study would seek to ensure:

  • Good sectoral engagement and commitment
  • Good use of existing data
  • Developing a solid understanding of the ‘costs of BSL recognition’ for presentation to government.

The group also supported a proposal to draft a Private Members Bill as a parallel activity, it was agreed that it would be useful if members of this group could provide copies of drafts they may have prepared.

The chair of the APPG on Deafness, has raised a parliamentary question over which government department is responsible for BSL, the Leader of the House of Commons has agreed to seek clarification on this point.

The group is to meet again in two months’ time to discuss finalising the strategy and funding.

21 MarA Message from UK Council on Deafness Chair, Craig Crowley

Craig CrowleyFor a number of years the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has been seeking to reduce the expenditure of its Access to Work Programme in order to safeguard public resources.

In 2015 the DWP set a budget cap of £43,100 (1.5 times average earnings) for an individual Deaf person using Sign Language Interpreters, which was to come in to final force on the 1st of April 2018.

UKCoD has been in discussions with the DWP highlighting the effects of the reduction in expenditure, particularly a cap on the ATW funding for individuals.  UKCoD has articulated that this limit would prevent Deaf individuals reaching the pinnacle of their profession and would stifle the aspirations of younger Deaf people.

The sterling support from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness led by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, the excellent work of Darren Townsend-Handscomb, DeafAtW, the Employment Sub-Group and a number of prominent Deaf individuals (one of such is Toby Burton, Chief Finance Officer for The Economist), has paved the way for the Minister of Disabled people, Sarah Newton MP, to announce that the Government will increase the cap of ATW funding per individual to £57,200 (double average earnings).

The UKCoD Board of Trustees are delighted with this announcement and we look forward to future discussions with the government, through the APPG, about the many issues that affect the lives of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deafened and Deafblind people every day.

Sarah Newton MP Statement [pdf]

UKCoD Press Release

21 MarPress Release

We are pleased to see that the Department of Work and Pensions has decided to significantly raise the Access to Work cap. This will help deaf people whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL) to access the communication support so vital to enabling them to thrive and succeed in the workplace.

The increase in the cap to £57,200 from April 2018 means that many more people will no longer face restrictions that impact their ability to carry out their jobs. We welcome this development which will reduce the barriers people face when accessing vital support to work, but we believe it is important to continue to monitor the impact of the cap on those with highest needs.

We welcome the ongoing engagement that the DWP has had with the sector through the UK Council on Deafness and DWP’s commitment to work collaboratively with us to monitor the impact of the cap. We will work with Access to Work’s specialist team as it seeks to coproduce tailored workplace assessments, and to improve its advice to Deaf people and employers, including on the appropriate use of technology, and we are committed to continue working with the Department to explore how this scheme can work for all.

 

[End]

02 MarHouse of Commons – Petition Debate

House of Commons first: live simultaneous BSL interpretation for petition debate

On Monday 5 March there will be a petition debate on making BSL part of the National Curriculum. The debate will be in Westminster Hall at 4.30pm.

For the first time, live in-picture interpretation for people watching live online will be available and a subtitled version will also be made available within hours of the debate.

Further details here

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

House of Commons first: live simultaneous BSL interpretation for petition debate

The Commons Petitions Committee has scheduled a debate in Westminster Hall on a petition calling for British Sign Language (BSL) to be part of the National Curriculum.

The petition, started by Sign Language performer and TV and radio presenter Wayne Barrow, has so far been signed by more than 26,500 people. He grew up in Birmingham with profoundly deaf parents. In the petition, Wayne Barrow argues that “Around 50,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language, so why is this not taught in schools? There are many children who are born deaf, and we need to give them a better chance at a more integrated future.” Read more of this article

06 FebMeeting with Sarah Newton MP

Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health

– Cap on Access to Work Awards

Sarah Newton MPThe UK Council on Deafness and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Deafness have held a positive meeting with the Minister for Disabled People, Sarah Newton MP, to discuss the cap on Access to Work awards.  The Minister described Access to Work as a fantastic scheme and indicated the Government desire to see it grow from year-to-year. She acknowledge that there were concerns around the cap and welcomed the meeting as a chance to hear the evidence from those affected.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Chair of the APPG, welcomed the meeting as a chance to re-open the dialogue with the Minister and highlighted the cross-party desire to re-establish the ability for Access to Work to support people at work whatever their work access needs. Stephen Lloyd, Vice-Chair of the APPG, notes the high unemployment rate which existed within the BSL community and said that there is an absence of role models for young deaf people. He argued that imposing a cap on Access to Work had the potential to knock the deaf community back and remove fifty years of progress. Read more of this article