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Television Licence (Deaf People)

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to introduce a television licence fee for deaf people. [110652]

The Government recognise the importance of access to television services for deaf people but believe this is best achieved by increasing the proportion of programmes that are subtitled and translated into sign language, rather than by introducing television licence fee concessions. There are already targets for subtitling on analogue and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and for signing on DTT. The Communications Bill extends these requirements to digital cable and satellite broadcasters for the first time. Amendments to the BBC Agreement will require the Corporation to observe Ofcom's code relating to provision for deaf and visually impaired people.