§ Mr. Redmond
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the current reported rate of illiteracy and what were the figures for each of the previous four years. 
§ Mr. Ancram
Information is not routinely collected on illiteracy rates in Northern Ireland. However, the position is considered to be similar to England and Wales where the Basic Skills Agency estimates that one in six adults is unable to read, write and/or speak in English at a level necessary to function and progress at work and in society in general. There is no evidence that this proportion has changed significantly in recent years.