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Calls for UK Government’s coronavirus daily briefings to include sign language interpretation

Neale Hanvey MP has made the plea on behalf of 60,000 people in Fife with hearing loss.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, Neale Hanvey has written to the Prime Minister calling on him to include a sign language interpreter at the daily televised briefings on coronavirus.

Unlike the Scottish Government briefings, the UK Government does not have a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter on the BBC1 broadcast.

This has led to more than 17,000 people signing a petition to call for the change.

The UK Government maintains that broadcasters are responsible for signing resources.

Commenting, Neale said:

“Quite simply, deaf people’s lives are being endangered by preventing them from accessing information about coronavirus.

“This is an issue that impacts many people in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, with 60,000 people across Fife estimated to suffer from hearing loss.

“Fife Council is uploading sign-language videos about council services to Youtube, the Scottish Government has a live interpreter in all televised briefings, and yet the UK Government’s briefings exclude deaf people.

“It’s worth remembering that the UK Government has a duty to ensure any public announcements are accessible to all. This is covered by the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act.

“Yet the Prime Minister seems to think accessibility for deaf people is someone else’s responsibility. That’s not leadership.

“I’m calling on the Prime Minister to make a small change to the coronavirus briefings that could have a big impact for deaf people in my constituency.”

Story covered in the Central Fife Times, see here.

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