Private Members’ bills are public bills introduced to Parliament by MPs and Lords who are not government ministers. As with other public bills their purpose is to change the law as it applies to the general population. A minority of Private Members’ bills become law but, by creating publicity around an issue, they may affect legislation indirectly.
“People who’ve got Down syndrome are overlooked in our health and social care system, our education system and our local government system – and there is a problem arising in that this will be the first generation of people with Down syndrome to outlive their parents, which for their parents is a huge worry about their care.
This year, three MPs are putting forward Bills which have direct impact on SEND Children and Young People. SEN will continue to monitor the progress of these important proposals.
Dr Liam Fox, Conservative, North Somerset
Down Syndrome Bill
“My bill would place a duty on local authorities to assess the likely social care needs of persons with Down syndrome and plan provision accordingly.
“There should be a duty on local authorities to consider people with Down syndrome when they’re making provision for long term care – it is wrong for people with Down syndrome to be put into elderly care homes when they’re in their 50s, it is wrong that they should be put into mental hospitals, it is wrong that in the educational system that they’re just treated as “special needs” rather than a distinct group.
“It is time to give them the recognition that many other groups already get, and I’ll be having discussions with the government about the best way to do it.”
Chris Bryant, Labour, Rhondda
Acquired Brain Injury Bill
“There is a hidden epidemic of people living with acquired brain injury in the UK. It affects 1.4 million and has implications for every government department.
“My bill would require the government to consult on, publish and review an Acquired Brain Injury Strategy. So ministers would have to look at measures to prevent brain injuries, especially amongst the young and including concussion in sport.
Rosie Cooper, Labour, West Lancashire
The British Sign Language (BSL) Bill
“Ministers would have to report on the provision of rehabilitation for those who have had brain injuries; the screening of prisoners and members of the armed forces for brain injuries; training for those assessing welfare payments and for teachers in recognising and dealing with brain injuries.”
“The British Sign Language (BSL) Bill will declare BSL an official language of the United Kingdom and provide for a BSL Council that will be able to promote and advise on matters relating to the language.
“As the daughter of profoundly deaf parents, BSL is my first language. I know first-hand the difficulty that deaf people face every day. So often they are ignored, misunderstood or have to fight for attention. Acknowledging BSL as a language is a simple step towards ensuring the needs of deaf people who rely on their language are met, and met correctly.”