CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DCMS – TV SUBTITLING FOR THE DEAF – 5 November 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: The Minister [Kim Howells] will recall the all-party support for the very effective campaign by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People for subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing on cable and satellite TV. Before the general election, the Government gave a clear commitment and a promise to introduce that. Nothing has been heard since then. Will the Minister take this opportunity to confirm that that promise still stands, and give us an idea of when that admirable and much desired change will come into effect?

[Dr Howells: I can certainly repeat that promise. I am meeting various RNID officials. There are some difficult problems, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman knows–problems with the technology, the take-up and the affordability. I want the initiative to be taken forward as quickly as possible. No doubt the hon. Gentleman knows that we have tried to raise the threshold generally to help people with disabilities, especially blind people, to overcome those problems when they watch television or listen to the radio. It is important that we take that agenda forward.]