Weekly roundup: this week in disability news

From the first ever British Sign Language interpreter in the history of Prime Minister’s Questions to raising awareness during Tinnitus Week, a lot has happened in the world of disability this week.

Prime Minister’s Questions makes history

On Wednesday 5 February, the House of Commons announced plans to trial live British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation of Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

PMQs takes places every Wednesday that the House of Commons is sitting and gives MPs the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister questions.

The pilot trial, which started on the same day, is building on previous work with BSL interpreters including providing like BSL interpretation for Westminster Hall debates.

Live BSL interpretation for PMQs is available here.

Actress Liz Carr to join Hollywood cast

Silent Witness star Liz Carr announced she has left the programme on a high and is set to appear in her first Hollywood role.

The actress has played a forensic examiner in the show since 2012 and has ended her time with the show this week at the end of the 23rd season.

Liz’s time on the show has improved the representation of disabled people on screen, something which will be furthered when she appears in her first Hollywood film.

Liz will star in the sci-fi drama Infinite later this year alongside actor Mark Wahlberg.

Battersea Arts Centre becomes the world’s first relaxed venue

Today, 7 February, Battersea Arts Centre celebrates becoming the world’s first relaxed venue.

The new venue will be launched at a special event today which also celebrates Going Global – Tarek Iskander’s first season as Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre and the 10 year birthday of activist-artist company Touretteshero.

Battersea Arts Centre will be the first venue to have gone through Touretteshero’s new relaxed venue method. The method identifies and dismantles the barriers experienced by disabled and neurodivergent people.

The relaxed venue method focuses on six areas: physical; creative; structural; digital; emotional; community.

New report highlights the scale of poverty for disabled people

The UK Poverty 2019/20 report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation looks at the nature and scale of poverty across the UK and how it affects people.

The report shows that nearly half of the 14 million people living in poverty in the UK are disabled or live with someone who is disabled.

In response to the findings, the charity urges reform of the benefits system and more flexible jobs available to help people with disabilities progress out of low paid positions.

The government says it is committed to tackling poverty, spending £55bn on benefits for disabled people this year.

The importance of research this Tinnitus Week

Tinnitus affects around one in 10 people, yet the condition is often misunderstood and under-researched. Tinnitus is the name for hearing a noice or ringing in the ears that isn’t caused by an outside source.

This year, Tinnitus Week is taking place from 3-9 February. This year’s theme is research, inviting the public to push for more and better tinnitus research.

Have you been impacted by any of this disability news in the last week? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram.