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Adult Literacy

Volume 931: debated on Monday 9 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how much money has been spent on the adult literacy programme;(2) how much money has been spent on adult literacy in Gloucestershire;(3) if she will make a statement about the future of the adult literacy programme;(4) how many people have benefited from the adult literacy programme;(5) how the funds set aside for adult literacy are distributed between the counties.

Since the adult literacy programme started in 1975, it is estimated that, in England and Wales, about 100,000 students have received or are receiving tuition. The Government's contribution has been a grant of some £3 million over the three financial years 1975–76 to 1977–78, disbursed by the Adult Literacy Resource Agency. This was not intended to cover the whole cost of provision, the main burden of which falls on local education authorities, but as a pump-priming grant to help to establish the scheme as part of local provision. The ALRA invite bids annually from local education authorities and certain voluntary bodies for assistance from its funds. Allocations are then made by the Agency and its management committee.The sums allocated to assist Gloucestershire were £4,375 for 1975–76 and £4,500 for 1976–77. The figure for 1977–78 is £7,750.There are no plans at present for central aid to continue beyond the end of March 1978, but the future of the programme will be considered by my right hon. Friend when she receives recommendations on the matter from the ALRA through its parent body, the National Institute of Adult Education.