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TV Broadcasts: Audio Description

Volume 653: debated on Thursday 31 January 2019

14. What steps he is taking to increase the provision of audio description in television broadcasts for visually impaired people. (908943)

Ofcom’s code on television access services sets out broadcast requirements on accessibility for the visual or hearing impaired. Since the code’s introduction, 84 UK channels have been required to provide access services. In December 2017, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport asked Ofcom to provide recommendations on making on-demand services more accessible. This Ofcom has done, and we are considering our response.

Despite there being more than 2 million people with visual impairment and approximately 400,000 registered blind people in the UK, broadcasters are mandated to supply audio description for only 10% of programmes. Does the Minister agree that TV broadcasts should be enjoyed by everyone? Will she review legislation to end this discrimination?

I am aware of the 10% statistic that the hon. Lady cites. The situation is kept under review, as are the requirements for on-demand providers, which could do a lot better than they are doing in respect of access for visually and hearing disabled people.