§ Mr. Vaz
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what current national spending and monitoring of success levels have been achieved in relation222W to adult basic education programmes over the last 10 years, by year; to increase funding and provision in this area; what plans he has; and if he will make a statement.
Local education authorities are mainly responsible for providing basic literacy and numeracy tuition for adults. Central Government support is provided to the adult literacy and basic skills unit (ALBSU) which is funded by the Department of Education and Science and the Welsh Office to act as the central focus for adult literacy and related basic skills in England and Wales. Grants to ALBSU during the past 10 years are as follows:
£ 1980–81 495,000 1981–82 1,000,065 1982–83 1,406,652 1983–84 1,513,000 1984–85 1,500,000 1985–86 1,723,000 1986–87 2,170,000 1987–88 2,248,500 1988–89 2,596,000 1989–90 2,889,300
Local education authorities and voluntary organisations report that the provision of adult basic skills tuition has increased over the past 10 years. In November 1988, the latest year for which figures are available, they reported that 110,626 adults were receiving tuition. HMI monitor the quality of provision as part of their regular inspection programmes.
My right hon. Friend is not yet in the position to announce what funds will be made available to ALBSU in the future. The Department will continue to work closely with ALBSU to increase the opportunities for adults to improve their basic skills, through initiatives such as the provision of open learning centres in inner-city areas, open learning centres supported through the ESG programme and the development of workplace tuition. The Department will also continue to co-operate with ALBSU, the BBC and the Training Agency in the basic skills accreditation initiative.