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Digital Broadcasting: Sight Impaired

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether his Department will be making any funds available to blind and partially-sighted persons to purchase new equipment to enable them to use teletext once the analogue signal has been switched off. (156192)

The Digital Switchover Help Scheme will ensure that households where at least one person is registered blind or registered partially-sighted will be provided with the appropriate equipment to convert one TV set and, where necessary, the relevant help to install and use such equipment and an aerial installation. Help will be free to eligible households in receipt of income support, jobseeker’s allowance or pension credit. Other households will be asked to contribute £40 towards the cost of support.

Where the eligible household opts for the digital terrestrial platform, the scheme will provide a set top converter box which meets the scheme’s core receiver requirement. This incorporates a number of features, such as audio description, which will be of benefit to blind and partially sighted people. There is no requirement for the scheme to enable audio access to digital text services. The Consumer Expert Group, which includes the RNIB and SENSE were consulted on the scheme requirements. The core receiver requirements, which take costs into account, will be kept under regular review.