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Individual Learning Accounts

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in what circumstances compensation will be payable from public funds to training providers in the light of the withdrawal of individual learning accounts; and what the estimated cost of such payments is. [110886]

As a result of a recent report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman on a complaint from a learning provider, the Department has decided, in line with Government Accounting guidance, to offer compensation to registered Individual Learning Account (ILA) learning providers in respect of those learners who properly applied to open accounts before 24 October 2001; were committed to purchase ILA eligible learning with a specific learning provider; and who had not been issued with account numbers by the time the system closed down at 6.30 pm on 23 November 2001, subject to the provision of appropriate evidence.

It is very difficult to estimate the likely cost as it is uncertain how many of these learners would have been committed to learn with a specific learning provider. The cost is estimated to be in the range of £2 million to £7 million with expectations being at the lower end.