HL Deb 06 May 2004 vol 660 cc131-2WA
Lord Laird

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether current proposals from Ofcom on setting interim targets for subtitling, signing and audio description give full effect to the proposals set out in the regulatory impact assessment in connection with the Communications Bill and in statements made by Ministers during the passage of the Bill. [HL2552]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

It was our stated intention throughout the passage of the Communications Act that the legislation should give Ofcom the ability to set interim targets for broadcasters to meet on the way to reaching their 10-year access services targets. The regulatory impact assessment made a number of assumptions about possible interim targets for the purposes of estimating the related costs but these were not proposals.

During the passage of the Act in the House of Lords, we recognised the strength of feeling about promoting services to people with sensory impairments. This is why we introduced a fixed five-year interim subtitling target of 60 per cent for broadcasters to ensure progression before the 10th anniversary.