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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): A wide range of courses and qualifications in the use of British Sign Language (BSL) is available throughout the United Kindom, including London.
The Government made a position statement on 18 March recognising British Sign Language (BSL) as a language in its own right regularly used by a significant number of people. At the same time, the Government announced that they would make available £1 million to fund a discrete programme of initiatives to support the statement. Among its priorities is increasing opportunities for people to learn BSL to a professional level. A working group comprising key government departments and organisations of and for deaf people, including the Council for the Advancement of
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The text is derived from the Strategy for Sustainable Farming and FoodFacing the Future document published last year, which set out the current position on sef-sufficiency and concluded on page 10 that "in an increasingly globalised world, the pursuit of self-sufficiency is no longer regarded as either necessary or desirable". This conclusion reflects the changed risks to food supply since the drive for self-sufficiency was launched after the Second World War, and against the current risks and the current level of self-sufficiency, the negative effects of further increasing production need to be taken into account.
The strategy also stated on page 11 that "incomes for farmers have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1930s; productivity is low20 per cent behind world leaders in food productionand extremely variable . . . ". The reference to world leaders in food production and the figure of 20 per cent is a reference to competitiveness in the UK's food processing sector. More detail can be found in the economic and statistical analysis published in the strategy, a document which has been in the public domain for many months and is evidence based.