City MP backing scheme for blind residents

MP Sharon Hodgson
MP Sharon Hodgson
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A Sunderland MP is supporting a new transcription scheme for blind or partially sighted constituents.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, is fully behind a joint venture between the Royal National Institute of Blind People, RNIB, and Royal Mail to provide a confidential service designed to improve communication between MPs and constituents who are blind or partially sighted.

With nearly 1.9million people living in the UK with sight loss, this means that an average of 3,000 people in every parliamentary constituency are struggling to access information and communication with their MPs as part of democratic accountability.

Using the confidential Transcription Service, RNIB can transcribe Braille or audio post from constituents to their MP, and can translate this communication into a format accessible to constituents.

This service is provided through a grant by Royal Mail, and will be free to use by blind or partially sighted constituents.

Mrs Hodgson said: "It is vital that all constituents, regardless of their circumstances, have access to communication with their elected representatives, and that is why I am pleased to offer my support to this important joint-venture between the RNIB and Royal Mail to allow this to happen.

“It is important that in the 21st century that everyone has access to information and it is wrong that for many constituents they may feel isolated from the democratic process when trying to contact their local Member of Parliament.

“That is why I will be encouraging my parliamentary colleagues to use this service to enable further engagement with their constituents who may be blind or partially sighted.”