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British Sign Language

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 3 April 2003, Official Report, column 838W, on British Sign Language, what the financial value was of the contracts allocated (a) to improve the training infrastructure and (b) to address the shortage of British Sign Language interpreters since 1997; and if he will make a statement on the effects on BSL interpreter numbers in Britain. [109367]

The contract with the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) to improve the training infrastructure for British Sign Language was worth a total of £198,750. Separately, a contract exists with the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) to recruit and train interpreters, to which DfEE/DWP and the RNID will each contribute £245,400 over its lifetime.These initiatives have made a contribution towards an increase in the number of registered interpreters in Britain, and there are currently 298 interpreters registered by the Independent Registration Panel with the CACDP. However, the system for registration and the basis of registration changed in April 2002, therefore it is not possible to directly compare these figures with those pre-April 2002.