HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 cc1803-4W
Mr. Hurst

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to increase the opportunities for older people to take educational courses which do not lead to a qualification. [188548]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

Our plans were set out in the White Paper "21st Century Skills; Realising Our Potential" published in July 2003. We are committed to safeguarding a wide range of opportunities for which do not lead to a qualification, including for older people. This is why we have agreed a budget with the Learning and Skills Council of £207.4 million in 2004–05 for adult and community learning secured through local education authorities, compared with £206 million in 2003£04. Over half (51 per cent.) of learners on these courses are aged 55 or over.