§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what survey he has carried out into the extent to which Government Departments publish information in Braille or large type;
(2) if he will take steps to ensure that all Government Departments publish information in Braille or large type;
(3) what plans he has to improve access to information to blind and partially sighted people;
(4) if he will bring forward legislation requiring information, with special reference to Bills and public notices, to he sent to the blind and the partially sighted in the form of Braille or large print; and if he will ensure that the blind and partially sighted will he informed of their right to this information;
(5) how he plans to encourage other councils to follow the lead of councils, with special reference to Barnet, to promote services to the blind and partially sighted.
§ Mr. Hague
The Government recognise the importance of providing information in accessible formats. In the consultation document "Disability on the Agenda" we gave a commitment to seek to increase the range of information made available in this way. Departmental information officers are currently taking this work forward.
The Disability Discrimination Bill will provide a right of access for disabled people. Under that right, service providers, including local authorities, will he required to provide auxiliary aids and services where this is reasonable and necessary to enable disabled people, including those with visual impairments, to use the service in question. Where a service itself consists of either the provision of information of facilities for communication, that service must he accessible where reasonable. The Bill itself is available in Braille.