BSL (Scotland) Bill gains the support of the Education and Culture Committee

Support for the BSL (Scotland) bill increased significantly yesterday, with the announcement that it has gained the backing of the Education and Culture Committee. Members called for the Scottish Parliament to support the bill when it is debated in Holyrood next Tuesday.

The proposed new legislation would require public bodies to promote the use of British Sign Language in order to improve deaf people’s access to services.

Signature is a member of the Scottish Council on Deafness, which has worked closely with MSPs to develop the Bill. Jim Edwards, Signature chief executive, said: "If passed, this Bill will be a great step forward in recognition of BSL as a language. Whilst it will only apply to Scotland, it will definitely help as we urge the UK Government to ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in respect of BSL.

"We also hope it will mean greater involvement in decision making for people in Scotland whose first or main language is BSL. We're therefore pleased with the Committee's focus on the importance of engagement and consultation, particularly at the local level."

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