HC Deb 23 April 2001 vol 367 c18W
Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to introduce a discount on television licences for people who are registered deaf. [158400]

Janet Anderson

The Government have no such plans. We believe the interests of deaf people are better served by improving their access to television services rather than by the provision of licence fee concessions. This was the view of the independent review panel on the future funding of the BBC, in its report of July 1999. The Government accepted the report's recommendation that there should be substantial increases in the BBC's targets for subtitling on its new digital services, and the BBC is working towards 100 per cent. subtitling on its digital channels by the tenth anniversary of their launch. The Corporation also aims to increase the amount of subtitling on BBC1 and BBC2 from its present level of 67 per cent. to 80 per cent. by 2003–04.

The Government recently announced their intention to increase the target for the provision of subtitling on ITC licensed digital terrestrial television (DTT) services from 50 per cent. of programmes by the tenth anniversary of the start of the service to 80 per cent., and to extend the requirements for subtitling, signing and audio description, which currently apply only to DTT, to digital cable and satellite services when legislation permits.

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