Thursday, 31 January 2019
Plain Language Bill 2019: First Stage
That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to ensure that all information for the public from government and State bodies is written and presented in plain language.
It is a well known fact that nearly 18% of adult population are functionally illiterate. Plain language Bills have been introduced in parliaments throughout the world, most recently in the United States, to assist in ensuring that people who are functionally illiterate or who have difficulties with literacy, reading, writing or filling out forms are assisted by the State wherever possible. This is achieved through our commitment to plain language within our forums and within our literature produced by Government, its Departments and agencies.
I will not continue at length given that the nature of the Bill is focused on plain language and I should keep my language quite plain. In effect, the Bill seeks to commit the Government and the State to make sure that all forms are readable by people who need them most. It would allow us to make sure, which the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection already does, that people of all educational attainment levels can fill in, read and understand forms. Many people in my constituency call to me on a regular basis in this regard. These are people who have difficulty reading let alone understanding the forms being put in front of them to fill out or the letters being sent to them. I believe we can commit to this and do not believe it would cost anything. It would be a great statement of intent if we could proceed with this Bill.