Mayor of Great Manchester Andy Burnham Promises BSL for Live Conferences

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham Promises BSL for Live Conferences
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Brussels (Parliament News) – Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, pledges British Sign Language interpretation for all live-streamed conferences if re-elected. Burnham emphasizes BSL’s importance in politics and advocates for ending the postcode lottery in BSL accessibility.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has promised to introduce British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation for all live-streamed conferences of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority if re-elected next week.

Why Does Burnham Stress BSL in Political Arenas?

Talking at the British Deaf Association’s annual meeting in Manchester on Friday, in which he began by signing that BSL is a “wonderful” language which “every child must learn”, Burnham underlined the UK Government’s neglect to provide a BSL interpreter in Downing Street for its daily coronavirus briefing, and asked if “councils are getting [it] right in this area”.

“No, we’re not getting it right, and actually, what I’m proud of in Greater Manchester is that we are starting to challenge ourselves more on disability. How can I stand here and say that I hope BSL to be common practice in the early years of education backgrounds if at the Greater Manchester level, you turn on and watch a Manchester Combined Authority forum and you find that there is no sign?

“So I’ll make an election promise, that from the start of my next term, should I be lucky sufficiently to have one, I will require that there is a BSL sign on the live stream of all sessions of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority,” he said.

Burnham added he wishes the pledge will spread “a clear signal” to other combined authorities, Parliament and councils that “we now must see BSL as standard, especially in the political arena where important issues are being discussed”.

How Will Burnham Address BSL Postcode Lottery?

In a discussion with Liam O’Dell, Burnham was questioned what pledge he would make around the adult education budget, and the government grant available to certain local authorities to help residents learn new skills.

He answered: “The pledge I would make is that we’ve got to terminate the postcode lottery in BSL because it can’t be a postcode lottery. If something is important for life for people’s inclusion in society, it can’t be delivered on a sort of ad hoc basis – it’s got to be provided permanently and it is clear when it is there for people. So I think that’s the commitment I will make at this election: we’ve got to end the postcode lottery and BSL.”

Why Does BDA Call for BSL Integration in Families?

Rebecca Mansell, chief executive of the BDA, remarked: “We think the whole approach to [the adult education budget] has to adjust, which is that it has to be BSL in the home, because what about brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, the wider family, the dinner table environment? Those are the individuals who also need to have entrance to learning sign language for that deaf child so they can be a part of that family dynamic.

“If we send a mother or father to a method, that doesn’t help that family confronted with that child, so our campaign is to have character language in the home. As well, you think about a new mother, with a baby, having to go to a course. Let somebody come into the house and contend with the whole family.”

The BDA conference, presently underway in Manchester, draws attention to the charity’s BSL In Our Hands campaign, which calls on the government to support BSL courses for parents of deaf children and a stop to the “postcode lottery” around supporting families.

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.