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Adult Literacy

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 10 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has available to him regarding the standards of adult literacy in England and Wales.

Few adults are unable to read or write at all, but there are a large number who have problems with reading, writing and spelling. In a report recently published by the Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit, it is reported that 13 per cent. of 23-year-olds who were interviewed in the National Child Development Study survey in 1981, said they had some problems with reading, writing or numeracy. If this were typical of all adults, an estimated 5·5 million people in England and Wales could have difficulties with literacy and numeracy. The Government provide help through the Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit which acts as a central focus to assist LEAs and voluntary organisations to establish new basic skills provision and develop existing provision. The grant to the unit for the current year is £2,170,000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received concerning adult literacy.

My right hon. Friend has not received any such representations during the present Session.