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Volume 893: debated on Monday 9 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest available estimate of the number of adult illiterates in Scotland, categorised where possible into age brackets.

Various independent estimates have been made, but my Department does not collect statistics of the numbers involved. Apart from the problem of defining illiteracy precisely, many of those with reading difficulties are unwilling to admit to them or to seek help. It is hoped that more will be learned about the extent of the whole problem as a result of the literacy scheme which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science and I have introduced to encourage education authorities and voluntary bodies to develop courses suited to the needs of individual adults. The scheme is administered through the National and Scottish Institutes of Adult Education, and f100,000 is available for expenditure in Scotland up to the end of 1975–76.