HC Deb 14 May 2002 vol 385 cc581-2W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to recognise British Sign Language as a language in its own right. [55337]

Maria Eagle

There have been calls for the Government to recognise British Sign Language by specifying it under the Council of Europe's Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Advice is that the charter was not intended to cover indigenous sign languages. However, the Council's Parliamentary Assembly has called on the Council to give sign languages used in Europe a protection similar to that afforded by the charter. The Council is currently considering how that might be done and the Government will respond to any proposals in due course.

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